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Thread: Unnacceptable sound fidelity with BMW Bluetooth

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  1. #1
    Estesdon selledr's Avatar
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    Angry 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.

  2. #2
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    At least enjoy the helmet, those are very nice. That unit is the same as the SCALA RIDER pretty much. Not sure if you can mod your helmet audio system to sound better, but I modded my SCALA to use molded in ear monitors. Pretty much anyone on here who has ever owned a SCALA has complained about the speakers.
    John.

  3. #3
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selledr View Post
    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.
    Welcome to the forum selledr. Here is a recent thread http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=56796 It's in the gear section. I'll try to keep an eye on your post here and if it isn't getting responses, I'll move it over to Gear for you. Good luck. Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200
    Part of the Forum Threadside Assistance Program

  4. #4
    Estesdon selledr's Avatar
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    Thanks, Gary.

    Don

  5. #5
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    I have the wired Autocom system on my 08 RT, however I've also ridden my friend's 1600GT using his the BMW Shuberth system so I've been able to compare the two.

    The Autocom system has a much fuller sound with more base while the BMW system is flatter with more treble. Bluetooth technology compared to a cable connected helmet such as Autocom is more limited on sound quality (both music and intercom).
    That said, the Shuberth system should be more than adequate and certainly not causing distortion.

    Some things that might help:

    Not sure if the speakers in the Shuberth helmet can be moved around, but it's important that the center of the speaker lines up with your ear canal. Centering them with your ear will allow less needed volume to hear the speakers. If not centered, you may be turning up the volume to compensate causing distortion. Also earplugs, which you should be using for a hundred reasons, will help you hear the sound clearer at speed with wind noise.

    In any case, you shouldn't be getting distortion which might be happening due to the speakers being turned up past their limit. Also check the audio source. An iPod fully turned up can distort speakers. There is a "Volume limit" setting on iPods for example to keep that from happening. Perhaps listening with the engine off in your garage might help you try a few remedies. Earplugs should probably be used while testing as they'll be needed at speed for wind noise.

    Let us know what you find as it may help others in the same boat.
    Last edited by RTRandy; 11-24-2011 at 11:26 PM.

  6. #6
    Estesdon selledr's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    Estesdon selledr's Avatar
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    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...." [http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...&page=2&pp=50] and "New RT owner with query..." [http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...t=owner+query]). 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).
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  8. #8
    Estesdon selledr's Avatar
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    Yes, I did this with my iPhone, as noted earlier. Thanks, wmubrown, for the suggestion. I will explain this to the service manager, but since three technicians at the dealership said my system was as good as any ("they all sound like that"), I doubt that they will do anything about my BMW radio.

    Quote Originally Posted by selledr View Post
    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.

  9. #9
    Registered User Malcolm_Robinson's Avatar
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    Unnaccrptable Sound & Service for BMW Bluetooth Commo System

    I spent 9 months trying to resolve treble distortion in my Shuberth mounted BMW Bluetooth Comm System with my new K1600GTL. I returned the system to BMW 4 times without improvement. The BMW tech tried various ad hoc solutions, and no fix worked. There is apparently no BMW provided tech support on this $450 bluetooth system, no planned BMW tech repair or reverse logistics, and the only solution was to replace the system. After the BMW system stopped charging, I returned the system to BMW for a full refund.

    I must ask, why is BMW-USA still half assed about audiophile systems and support? I work in Silicon Valley with 10 years in e-commerce and have never seen such poor tech support for any product. The guys in New Jersey appear unresponsive to letters and emails about the issue, and are clearly not up to the task.

    The K1600GTL is a great bike, a pure thoroughbred. To bad Motorrad did not get the car guys to help with GPS and sound system support. It's back to the aftermarket for a quality solution.

  10. #10
    RT in NC
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    Bad bluetooth 2013 RT

    I have had an on going problem with my communication system. Three radios, three headsets and two bluetooth antennas later it is worse. BMW had the dealer make a recording of the system. I got a call yesterday and was told my RT sounded like they expected an RT to sound. The dealer and mechanic thinks it sounds like S**T. During this process my helmet was paired with a K bike and the sound was good. The BMW guy said the K bilke should sound better. What klind oif crap is this. I told them they should be emabarrassed as a company putting out a product and expecting it to be under performing. I have lost total confidence in this company. I guess the only recourse is legal action. I am planning on making a recording and posting on the internet and get peoples opinions on sound quality and if it is acceptable to them. Not sure how to do this but I am checking it out.
    Buck in Greensboro, NC
    2013 R 1200 RT Midnight Blue - traded, 2014 R 1200 RT Ebony Metallic

  11. #11
    Ozzie Flyer
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogwide@aol.com View Post
    I have had an on going problem with my communication system. Three radios, three headsets and two bluetooth antennas later it is worse. BMW had the dealer make a recording of the system. I got a call yesterday and was told my RT sounded like they expected an RT to sound. The dealer and mechanic thinks it sounds like S**T. During this process my helmet was paired with a K bike and the sound was good. The BMW guy said the K bilke should sound better. What klind oif crap is this. I told them they should be emabarrassed as a company putting out a product and expecting it to be under performing. I have lost total confidence in this company. I guess the only recourse is legal action. I am planning on making a recording and posting on the internet and get peoples opinions on sound quality and if it is acceptable to them. Not sure how to do this but I am checking it out.
    sell the bike and buy something else.
    regards
    Paul
    Ozzie Flyer
    BE KIND TO HUMANS... THEY BITE

  12. #12
    RT in NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by pch123 View Post
    sell the bike and buy something else.
    I plan to but not before I get some compensation for the extra $ spent on the sound system and head set. As an aside with the latest radio the bluetooth in he bike and the Nav iv is not compatable. They can not be paired at the same time as the operating manuals suggest. Get quality product.
    Buck in Greensboro, NC
    2013 R 1200 RT Midnight Blue - traded, 2014 R 1200 RT Ebony Metallic

  13. 11-03-2013, 09:36 PM

  14. #14
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogwide@aol.com View Post
    I plan to but not before I get some compensation for the extra $ spent on the sound system and head set. As an aside with the latest radio the bluetooth in he bike and the Nav iv is not compatable. They can not be paired at the same time as the operating manuals suggest. Get quality product.
    Not sure what you mean saying they can't be paired at the same time. The Nav IV plays through the audio system on my bike and I only pair to the bike's bluetooth.

    Edit: Sorry, I'm talking about a K bike, but you have an RT. My bad.
    Dan

  15. #15
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm_Robinson View Post
    I must ask, why is BMW-USA still half assed about audiophile systems and support?
    Audiophile systems and motorcycles really don't mix very well. To much environmental noise for a decent dynamic range. Sure, BMW could do better. I suspect they don't understand why anybody would care given the natural limitations. Motorcycling in BMW land is apparently more about the ride than telephone calls or tunes in your ear.

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