Bowers and Wilkins vs. Harman Kardon vs. Burmester
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    1. #1
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      Bowers and Wilkins vs. Harman Kardon vs. Burmester

      I recently had to cancel an OSD order due to Covid-19.

      While most likely I will reorder the same car I did for this summer (a V60 CC, though I will look again at the XC60) I notice that the Mercedes GLC has been updated and there is a new GLB. I had not looked at Mercedes seriously but I might check these out.

      Has anyone compared the Burmester audio system on the GLC-class to both Volvo's Bowers and Wilkins and Harman Kardon? The B & W blew me away and is the reason why I went with the V60 vs. XC60 (going to Inscription as is necessary to get B & W on the XC60 was a bit beyond my budget). I doubt the Burmester comes close to B &W, but it is it better than Harman Kardon? Music is a very important part of my driving experience.
      Last edited by ap17; 06-29-2020 at 09:39 PM.
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

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    3. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by ap17 View Post
      I recently had to cancel an OSD order due to Covid-19.

      While most likely I will reorder the same car I did for this summer (a V60 CC, though I will look again at the XC60) I notice that the Mercedes GLC has been updated and there is a new GLB. I had not looked at Mercedes seriously but I might check these out.

      Has anyone compared the Burmester audio system on the GLC-class to both Volvo's Bowers and Wilkins and Harman Kardon? The B & W blew me away and is the reason why I went with the V60 vs. XC60 (going to Inscription as is necessary to get B & W on the XC60 was a bit beyond my budget). I doubt the Burmester comes close, but it is it better than Harman Kardon? Music is a very important part of my driving experience.

      I had a 2015 C400 with the Burmester speaker system.
      I own a 2019 XC60 with the HK system.
      I've driven many loaners with the BW system.
      No. The Burmester isn't as good as the HK system. And I still think that the money is better spent on the seats, not the BW over the HK. Personal opinion, sure, but I just don't think the BW is worth the ridiculous cost of the package.

    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by L3it3r View Post
      I had a 2015 C400 with the Burmester speaker system.
      I own a 2019 XC60 with the HK system.
      I've driven many loaners with the BW system.
      No. The Burmester isn't as good as the HK system. And I still think that the money is better spent on the seats, not the BW over the HK. Personal opinion, sure, but I just don't think the BW is worth the ridiculous cost of the package.
      Thank you. Everyone has their own priorities. The regular Volvo seats are great. In comparing the HK to BW, I found that there wasn't a huge difference in electronic music (techno, pop) but a striking difference in "organic" music such as classical and rock and roll. I sampled a violin solo and it sounded like someone actually playing in front of me. Incredible. I liked both the XC60 and V60 CC equally, each had its own advantages (XC60 bigger, more "airy"; V60 better driver, better gas mileage). Access to the BW system made the decision for me.

      Burmester being worse than HK would be a deal-breaker. They have similar generic specs (same number of speakers, same power) but set-up is probably very different.
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

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    6. #4
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      B&W vs Harmon on the Volvo is very noticeable.
      2020 xc60 "Polestar Engineered", crystal white.
      2019 xc40 T5-R Bursting Blue Premium & Advanced Packs.

    7. #5
      Member BigBang's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ap17 View Post
      I recently had to cancel an OSD order due to Covid-19.

      While most likely I will reorder the same car I did for this summer (a V60 CC, though I will look again at the XC60) I notice that the Mercedes GLC has been updated and there is a new GLB. I had not looked at Mercedes seriously but I might check these out.

      Has anyone compared the Burmester audio system on the GLC-class to both Volvo's Bowers and Wilkins and Harman Kardon? The B & W blew me away and is the reason why I went with the V60 vs. XC60 (going to Inscription as is necessary to get B & W on the XC60 was a bit beyond my budget). I doubt the Burmester comes close to B &W, but it is it better than Harman Kardon? Music is a very important part of my driving experience.
      If you enjoy music so much, it's best to go to the Mercedes showroom yourself and try out the Burmester system on the spot.
      The new MBUX system is currently perhaps the best system on the market to be installed in cars, light years ahead of the Sensus system

      But if the XC60 doesn't fit the price into your budget, I'm not sure the Mercedes GLC fits into your budget


      The best Iíve ever heard in a car is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 23 loudspeakers including 3D sound, 23-channel BeoCore amplifier; highly efficient ICE power amplifiers with a total output of 1,920 watts
      However, the price of this system is 6450 EUR and the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System price is 1150 EUR
      Last edited by BigBang; 06-30-2020 at 11:29 AM.
      2018 XC60 T5 R-Design

    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by BigBang View Post
      If you enjoy music so much, it's best to go to the Mercedes showroom yourself and try out the Burmester system on the spot.
      The new MBUX system is currently perhaps the best system on the market to be installed in cars, light years ahead of the Sensus system

      But if the XC60 doesn't fit the price into your budget, I'm not sure the Mercedes GLC fits into your budget


      The best Iíve ever heard in a car is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 23 loudspeakers including 3D sound, 23-channel BeoCore amplifier; highly efficient ICE power amplifiers with a total output of 1,920 watts
      However, the price of this system is 6450 EUR and the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System price is 1150 EUR
      My budget is about 50k: I can build a GLC and V60 CC with the options I want right under that budget, when taking into account the European/OSD delivery discounts. I can't with the XC60 which requires Inscription trim for Bowers and Wilkins.

      I will definitely test the MB later in the year.
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

    9. #7
      Member chillg8r's Avatar
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      Canít speak for the MB audio system but I can say that I own a 2019 S60 with the HK system and a 2017 XC90 with the B&W system and there is no comparison. I appreciate the B&W every time I drive! Worth every penny. (FWIW, I was in the high end audio business for 15 years and was considered an expert in evaluating high end car audio systems for their sound quality. So i am very picky)


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      ĒAdventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.Ē

    10. #8
      Junior Member stocis's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ap17 View Post
      My budget is about 50k: I can build a GLC and V60 CC with the options I want right under that budget, when taking into account the European/OSD delivery discounts. I can't with the XC60 which requires Inscription trim for Bowers and Wilkins.

      I will definitely test the MB later in the year.
      XC60 does not require Inscription trim for Bowers and Wilkins.
      I have the 2020 R-Design fitted with B&W.
      Current: 2020 Volvo XC60 R-Design, 2018 Volvo XC40 R-Design
      Previous: 2009 Volvo C70, 2006 Volvo XC60, 2003 Saab 9-5, 1999 Mitsubishi FTO, 1998 Land Rover Freelander, 1995 Suzuki Swift Sedan

    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by stocis View Post
      XC60 does not require Inscription trim for Bowers and Wilkins.
      I have the 2020 R-Design fitted with B&W.
      You're right, but the R-Design costs as much as the Inscription. Even when you add the Advanced and Premium Packages (which I would have wanted on the Momentum) the cost is still a couple thousand more. On the V60 CC (and also V90 CC, but it's a more expensive vehicle especially since the T5 engine is no longer an option on it) there aren't these trims, so one can just add the BW and build other options into it to keep the price a bit lower.
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by ap17 View Post
      You're right, but the R-Design costs as much as the Inscription. Even when you add the Advanced and Premium Packages (which I would have wanted on the Momentum) the cost is still a couple thousand more. On the V60 CC (and also V90 CC, but it's a more expensive vehicle especially since the T5 engine is no longer an option on it) there aren't these trims, so one can just add the BW and build other options into it to keep the price a bit lower.
      believe me, B&W is worth every penny.
      Current: 2020 Volvo XC60 R-Design, 2018 Volvo XC40 R-Design
      Previous: 2009 Volvo C70, 2006 Volvo XC60, 2003 Saab 9-5, 1999 Mitsubishi FTO, 1998 Land Rover Freelander, 1995 Suzuki Swift Sedan

    13. #11
      Junior Member RootDKJ's Avatar
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      Iím in love with the B&W sound. I often go out to the garage just to listen so music in my XC60. Best sound system Iíve ever owned. Itís truly amazing in a T8 when running silently on electric power. No distortion, no crazy vibration noises. Iím glad I decided B&W over the Luxury Seats. With the right song and bass/sub settings, you still get the massage.
      2019 Bursting Blue XC60 R-Design T8
      | 21" Wheels | Exterior Style Kit | Advanced | 4C Air | B & W | CPO 10yr/Unlimited |
      2010 Maple Red XC60 T6 retired at 173,375 miles

    14. #12
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      I also love our B&W in both of our Volvoís. Both my wife and I are former music educators and appreciate the high quality of sound.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    15. #13
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      I have the Harman/Kardon in my S60, also have an older Harman/Kardon system in my 9-5.

      I went and test drove a 2019 Mercedes CLS 450 with the standard Burmeister set up recently. Initially, I thought it blew the HK in my S60 out of the water, but then I went in and found that there were even more settings that I could change with the HK system in the S60. What I will say is that without any messing with the equalizer/settings, the HK is very much so biased towards the high end of the spectrum--I hear it as being a very bright system. Once I was able to get more of the settings from the pull-down Sensus menu, I was able to get it the way I wanted it with some more low end.

      The Burmeister on the CLS definitely has a lot more low end bass on the standard setting.
      Current: 2020 S60 T5 Inscription, 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero, 1986 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible
      Past: 2013 Acura TSX, 1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen

    16. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by ngphill View Post
      I have the Harman/Kardon in my S60, also have an older Harman/Kardon system in my 9-5.

      I went and test drove a 2019 Mercedes CLS 450 with the standard Burmeister set up recently. Initially, I thought it blew the HK in my S60 out of the water, but then I went in and found that there were even more settings that I could change with the HK system in the S60. What I will say is that without any messing with the equalizer/settings, the HK is very much so biased towards the high end of the spectrum--I hear it as being a very bright system. Once I was able to get more of the settings from the pull-down Sensus menu, I was able to get it the way I wanted it with some more low end.

      The Burmeister on the CLS definitely has a lot more low end bass on the standard setting.
      Thank you. After you adjusted the HK in your Volvo, did you find that it exceeded the Burmester or was the Burmester still a little better?
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

    17. #15
      Junior Member stocis's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ap17 View Post
      Thank you. After you adjusted the HK in your Volvo, did you find that it exceeded the Burmester or was the Burmester still a little better?
      If music is an important part of your driving experience, B&W should hands down be your choice.
      If not, at the first rattle, even random, youíd be kicking yourself in the head.
      Iíve experienced many audio systems, amongst thrm both Burmester and Harman Kardon. I had Dynaudio in my C70 too. All systems have their cons and pros
      Whatever you choose would be fine, but if you want the best, to me, thereís no choice. Lastly in terms of Volvo / MB we are biased so that decision should be yours, since apart one member, the rest of us are absolutely thrilled with our choice.
      Current: 2020 Volvo XC60 R-Design, 2018 Volvo XC40 R-Design
      Previous: 2009 Volvo C70, 2006 Volvo XC60, 2003 Saab 9-5, 1999 Mitsubishi FTO, 1998 Land Rover Freelander, 1995 Suzuki Swift Sedan

    18. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by stocis View Post
      If music is an important part of your driving experience, B&W should hands down be your choice.
      If not, at the first rattle, even random, youíd be kicking yourself in the head.
      Iíve experienced many audio systems, amongst thrm both Burmester and Harman Kardon. I had Dynaudio in my C70 too. All systems have their cons and pros
      Whatever you choose would be fine, but if you want the best, to me, thereís no choice. Lastly in terms of Volvo / MB we are biased so that decision should be yours, since apart one member, the rest of us are absolutely thrilled with our choice.
      When I experienced the B & W, it blew me away which is why I went with it for an OSD order that was cancelled due to Covid. The Harman Kardon was also good. Interestingly, its basic specs are similar to those of my Subaru Harman Kardon (12 speakers Subaru, 14 speakers Volvo XC60, both about 600 W) but the Volvo's HK sounded a lot better than does my Subaru's.

      I prioritize safety, sound, comfort and driving fun and Volvo was the clear choice when I put down my deposit in January. Since then there have been new GLC and GLB which have gotten good reviews, so I'll cross-shop them. If their Burmester is at least better than Volvo's HK I might consider one of the MBs if all else is great. If not, that would be a deal-breaker. But most likely I will order another Volvo for 2021.
      Future: 2020 V60 CC Birch Light with Advanced Package and Bowers and Wilkins (was OSD summer 2020, now cancelled, 2021 model next summer?)
      Current: Subaru Outback 2015, Limited

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