Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like
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    1. #1
      Senior Member Mr. Kotter's Avatar
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      Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like

      What are things you dislike about your XC-90 that you'd thought you'd like.

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    3. #2
      Member ig_mb's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (Mr. Kotter)

      The so-called premium audio system. First of all, it doesn't sound "premium" at all.
      It lacks bass response. It may be better with a subwoofer but that is not available to those of us who got the versatility pkg.
      Second, the radio is terrible. It has no sensitivity whatsoever. Pretty much all stations sound noisy and weak, regardless of how strong they are or how well they can be heard on other radios.
      Third, it doesn't have a way to attach other non-volvo devices to the MOST bus.
      Fourth, no satellite radio support.
      Fifth, the incoherent user interface. Sometimes you need to use the up and down arrow keys, sometimes you need to turn the right knob. But beware if you turn that knob at the wrong time! You will be changing between CD, AM, FM...
      2018 XC90 T8 AWD Momentum Plus, Denim Blue, convenience, air suspension, B&W, HUD, etc
      2005 S60 2.5T AWD (OSD) Platinum Green, Premium, Convenience, Climate, Bi-Xenon, etc
      Previous:
      2016 XC90 T6 AWD (OSD) Momentum Plus, Magic Blue, vision, convenience, air suspension, B&W, HUD, etc
      2004 XC90 T6 AWD (gone but not forgotten)

    4. #3
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      - Quality of radio reception as said earlier
      - The tinted part on the upper side of the windshield is too dark and low. When driving under low light conditions or during the night, it's then quite impossible to read the upper road signs or something see the traffic lights. I always have to lay down and further to read them (nb: I am 6 feet tall, about 1.85 m). However, this tinted band is nice in the daylight.......As a conclusion, this tinted band should have the same characteristics as some glasses : get darker when light is bright, disappear when it's darkness.

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    6. #4
      Member 1sttimevolvo's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (ig_mb)

      Quote, originally posted by ig_mb »
      The so-called premium audio system. First of all, it doesn't sound "premium" at all.
      It lacks bass response. It may be better with a subwoofer but that is not available to those of us who got the versatility pkg.
      Second, the radio is terrible. It has no sensitivity whatsoever. Pretty much all stations sound noisy and weak, regardless of how strong they are or how well they can be heard on other radios.

      The premium is indeed better with the subwoofer, though I did test standard stereo and premium stereo-both without subwoofers before I chose the premium. I sat in the cars at the dealership parking lot for about an hour with cd's and adjusted the front and rear equalizers accordingly. I thought the difference was substantial.

      I have not had a bit of problem with FM radio reception, any "staticy" reception I have had has been due to having the radio in Dolby mode as well. I don't even keep the radio in Dolby mode anymore, I just keep the cd's set to Dolby.


    7. #5

      Re: prem sound

      RE: the premium sound system. At my first chance to listen to it I was appalled, it was awful, lots of flutter and skip, volume would rise and fall, static etc. I mean really bad. However, after I made some menu adjustments sound quality improved dramatically, skipping and flutter is gone, reception is clear and strong... it's so much better it's almost like a new unit was installed. Read all the threads on radio reception, lots of good ideas...
      2013 S80 T6 OSD #2
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    8. #6

      Re: prem sound (COMark)

      I agree, the bass at low volumes is weak, but it picks up nicely at higher volumes. The equalizers also can be tweaked for improved sound. Once nice thing would have been if it came with the pre-programmed equalizers you can select on many after parket stereos. "vocal", "rock", "flat" etc. Reception has been excellent in Chi town

    9. #7
      Member 1sttimevolvo's Avatar
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      Re: prem sound (COMark)

      Quote, originally posted by COMark »
      However, after I made some menu adjustments sound quality improved dramatically, skipping and flutter is gone, reception is clear and strong... it's so much better it's almost like a new unit was installed. Read all the threads on radio reception, lots of good ideas...

      Bingo! You are dead on! The Demos at our Volvo dealership had the equalizer settings all flatlined. I made the comment to the salesguy that this made the stereo sound plain and ordinary.
      He said they like to let the potential costumer play with it and hear the differnence themselves. Makes sense!


    10. #8
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      Re: prem sound (1sttimevolvo)

      Quote, originally posted by 1sttimevolvo »

      Bingo! You are dead on! The Demos at our Volvo dealership had the equalizer settings all flatlined. I made the comment to the salesguy that this made the stereo sound plain and ordinary.
      He said they like to let the potential costumer play with it and hear the differnence themselves. Makes sense!

      Hmmm...I'm not sure that's real wise. It's been my experience that many people leave the bass & treble settings in their vehicle untouched...I've had plenty of people complain to me that the sound coming from their radio was bland. I'd look at their radio, and notice that the settings were in the 'neutral' position. I'd adjust them a little, and they would be amazed at the difference afterwards. Just like many people never care to read their vehicles' owner's manual, they don't bother to learn how to properly use their radios, especially as they've become more complicated nowadays. Just my 2 cents...


    11. #9
      Member 1sttimevolvo's Avatar
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      Re: prem sound (JRinPR)

      Quote, originally posted by JRinPR »

      Hmmm...I'm not sure that's real wise.


      If the salesrep didn't encourage the customer to play with the radio, or go thru the features with them, then I might agree.................

    12. #10
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      JRinPR,
      Point taken. So how do you adjust it ? I don't mean how to get to the adjustment panel, I mean what value do you give ? (higher some, lower some other ?).
      Thanks in advance.

    13. #11
      Member 1sttimevolvo's Avatar
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      Re: (zebulon)

      Quote, originally posted by zebulon »
      So how do you adjust it ? I don't mean how to get to the adjustment panel, I mean what value do you give ? (higher some, lower some other ?).
      Thanks in advance.

      I adjust it 25% to 30% up on the dial, not quite half way to the right from middle.......


    14. #12
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      Re: (zebulon)

      Quote, originally posted by zebulon »
      JRinPR,
      Point taken. So how do you adjust it ? I don't mean how to get to the adjustment panel, I mean what value do you give ? (higher some, lower some other ?).
      Thanks in advance.

      It really depends upon the vehicle and the type of music you're listening to, really. Also, the type of interior plays a factor as well. Many years ago, there were a Volvo 740 GLE and a 740 Turbo in my household. The Turbo had mostly cloth interior (leather on the outside edges of the seats), and I swear the sound quality inside the Turbo was better than the GLE's, even though both had the same sound system. Same thing happened to me recently, while test-driving two Chrysler Pacificas. The sound quality of the stereo on the one with cloth seats was better than in the one with leather interior.

      Years ago, I used to crank up the bass and the treble, no matter the car. Nowadays, either the stereos have gotten a lot more sofisticated or my hearing has gotten pickier, since I tend to adjust different cars differently (apologize for being redundant).


    15. #13
      Member rollie's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (ig_mb)

      Play with the front and rear equalizer settings and you should find adequate bass response. Of course the second part of the equation is that the rear speakers don't really come alive until you hit about 55% on the volume meter (which is just about when you start to approach the pain threshold for volume in my experience.) There's definitely a BIG jump up in sound quality one the volume gets up around 55% - don't know why.

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    16. #14
      Member ig_mb's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (rollie)

      Quote, originally posted by rollie »
      Play with the front and rear equalizer settings and you should find adequate bass response.

      It is not a matter of adjusting the EQs, nor the bass/treble controls. I've played with all the settings, even some that you can't normally get to. It makes no difference: there is no bass response at reasonable volume levels.

      Quote, originally posted by rollie »
      Of course the second part of the equation is that the rear speakers don't really come alive until you hit about 55% on the volume meter (which is just about when you start to approach the pain threshold for volume in my experience.) There's definitely a BIG jump up in sound quality one the volume gets up around 55% - don't know why.

      And herein lies the problem: a "premium" sound system should not require blowing my eardrums or getting anywhere near the pain threshold to hear the full spectrum, which is what happens with this system.

      As a comparison, my old celica had a stock sound system which did not require getting into the pain region before frequencies below 200Hz started to creep above the noise level. Any cheap boombox has better frequency response, both on the lows and on the high notes.

      Next year, I'll buy and install the subwoofer. May be then it gets better on the low frequencies but I'm not holding my breath though.


      Regarding the AM/FM radio itself: well, every other car I've ever owned had no problem whatsoever pulling stations all over the SF Bay. Not so the XC90's "premium" sound system: most of the FM stations come in weak, only a few come in strong enough to quiet the FM noise and NONE come loud enough to be able to use the PLII or the 3CH mode without background noise. Of course, the dealer would immediately jump and say: "but, but, for radio listening, you need to set it for 2CH mode...".

      If that is so, why is it then that Volvo sells a "premium" system that doesn't support the exact reason why it is supposed to be called "premium"? (the Dolby ProLogic II system!!!)

      If that weren't enough, AM reception (very useful to hear emergency and road announcements) is dysmal, to the point that we have considered carrying a portable radio on the car.

      In my experience, the sound system has not lived up to its trumped up name. The rest of the car is great, but the crappy sound system is just that, crappy, not "premium".

      Of course, that's just my opinion, and pretty much every single person that has ever sat on my car.

      Except the dealer, of course, which insists that all XC90s sound like this one.

      2018 XC90 T8 AWD Momentum Plus, Denim Blue, convenience, air suspension, B&W, HUD, etc
      2005 S60 2.5T AWD (OSD) Platinum Green, Premium, Convenience, Climate, Bi-Xenon, etc
      Previous:
      2016 XC90 T6 AWD (OSD) Momentum Plus, Magic Blue, vision, convenience, air suspension, B&W, HUD, etc
      2004 XC90 T6 AWD (gone but not forgotten)

    17. #15
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (ig_mb)

      Quote, originally posted by ig_mb »

      In my experience, the sound system has not lived up to its trumped up name. The rest of the car is great, but the crappy sound system is just that, crappy, not "premium".

      Agree, 110%. Very disappointing audio system. My T5's Premium Audio with Dolby blows the XC90's Premium Audio (and w/Dolby II!) off.

      Yannis

      2001 Volvo V70 T5 M SR, Classic Red/Graphite Lthr, TME Stage II ECU, 3" Downpipe w/ Cat-back exhaust from MTE, Volvo Roadholding & Lowering Kit w/ Nivomats, 17" PEGASUS, Rear Spoiler, Dolby Surround Sound
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    18. #16
      Senior Member Mr. Kotter's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (Sound System)

      OK, folks, let's clarify how we're looking at sound system...Are people disapointed because it doesn't stand up well in the total audiophile strata a la HK or Nak- type equipment, or does the sound package suck even to the middle of the road people?

      Either way, it's disappointing to see such reviews of the sound system thus far... Here Volvo had a chance to put some icing on the cake.


    19. #17

      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (Mr. Kotter)

      Quote, originally posted by Mr. Kotter »
      does the sound package suck even to the middle of the road people?

      No way IMO. I'd like to say I am a middle of the road audiophile guy who listens to a broad spectrum of music. However, I don't listen to music on the radio only news or talk shows, when I listen to music it's always CD's and the sound is good (sure bass could be better at low levels, you never have enough bass). I have no problems with radio reception either. Take a CD to the dealer and decide for yourself whether it's worth the upgrade money to you.

      BTW I see the new 2004.5 S40 will have an optional 445-watt Dolby Surround Pro Logic II® audio system with optional programmable multi-disc CD player.

      It also seems they listened to the lock complainers and will have ...

      Programmable lock/unlock - Allows you to determine whether you want the exterior lights to signal the locking function or not.

      Auto lock - Automatically locks doors when you start to drive. You can turn this feature off if you choose.

      Central locking - Your remote can either lock all doors or unlock the driver's door with the first touch and all doors with the second touch. Simply program your preference.


    20. #18
      Member 1sttimevolvo's Avatar
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      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (ig_mb)

      Quote, originally posted by ig_mb »

      It is not a matter of adjusting the EQs, nor the bass/treble controls. I've played with all the settings, even some that you can't normally get to. It makes no difference: there is no bass response at reasonable volume levels.

      I will say that you get some improvement in the bass by adjusting any combination of levels, but it is limited. That's why it was imperative to me to get the subwoofer as well.

      Every SUV I've been in and owned has poor bass response as it relates to the `depth' of the sound. Sedans will always have great bass response and depth. In sedans, two or more speakers are on the back dash behind the seats. The trunk is an excellent resonance cavity.
      No space of this kind exists in an SUV.
      The GMC Jimmy I used to have sucked when it came to bass depth. I transplanted some very nice Jensen tri-ax speakers from my previous car into it and the bass was still poor in comparison to how the sounded in the car.
      The premium audio does sound better than the standard audio, but if you want rich deep base that you're accustomed to in a car, you have to make the choice between the versatility package and the subwoofer. Or you can go the aftermarket route on the subwoofer if you don't mind a cabinet sitting behind the third row seat.

      As to the radio reception, I just haven't had any problems. The reception is just as good as our other cars have been. I can pick up all the stations I could before from pretty much the same range.
      As for AM, I can pickup WLW in Cincinnati (120 miles away) as well as I ever could.


    21. #19

      Re: Things We Hate That We Thought We Would Like (GrecianVolvo)

      Boy when you first heard you thought it was AWESOME

      https://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=5022


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