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This thread will study the behavior of the Bose system in the Macan. What are it's strengths and limitations? Notice I specified the MACAN Bose system. I've heard many comments about Bose sounding good / bad in other vehicles. However, that is irrelevant. Audio systems (including Bose) change from vehicle to vehicle in regards to equipment price point and final tuning.

First up. What does the vehicles frequency response look like? Here is a measurement taken from the drivers seat while wearing a bin-aural microphone array. Per recommendations from Dr. Earl Geddes six measurements were taken in the seating position with my head at various positions and angles. The measurements were taken then averaged together using ROOM EQ WIZARD.

All response curves are filtered to 1/3rd octave.

Response with Linear and Surround off:
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Response with Linear On and Surround off:
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Response compared Linear off vs. on:
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No surprise. Both response curves follow the House Curve developed by David Clarke and David Carlstrom back in the early 90's. Rising bass response starting from roughly 200 Hz down to 20 Hz. Flat from 200 Hz to roughly 2500 Hz. Falling treble response starting from 2500 Hz to 20,000 Hz. This curve was created by surveying 1000's of test subjects to determine what frequency response curve sounded best to 80% of the individuals being studied. It just so happens that this is now an industry adopted standard assuming the equipment is advanced enough to reproduce. Bose nailed this pretty good in the Macan. Tonality is pretty good but not perfect. Considering OEM equipment cost limitations this is quite an accomplishment.

So, what do we see?

Bose had difficulty taming the response in the lower to upper mid-range sections. This is no surprise considering a vehicles interior and the limited ability to correct on a budget oriented system. Vehicles have tons of hard surfaces that sound can bounce off. Bouncing sound creates cancellations and boosts in frequency response. This creates peaks and dips that affect what you hear. Bose achieved pretty good results considering their limitations. But you will still notice something un-natural and wonky in the mid-range region. It sounds great. But not right.

Bass response is OK. It doesn't achieve chest pumping sound levels but presents a nice content in the low end. Treble response is OK as well. Missing detail and sparkle but does a decent job reproducing content.

So what is the difference between Linear off vs. on?

Not as much as you think. Linear ON reduces bass response by 3db and boosts treble response by 3db. It's that simple. You'll notice the difference but it is not that drastic.

Tomorrow night we will discuss surround for 2 channel audio and what it does. Keep in mind this is far different from surround mode in 5.1 channel audio.

Ge0
 

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Nice analysis! It's good to see some actual data instead of subjective opinion. Curious if your Macan has the panoramic sun roof and if the interior cover (sun shade) is open or closed, if that makes much difference.
 

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Which version/year of Bose are you analysing? I understand it has changed at least once. My 2015 car has the sub's amp mounted to its enclosure (i.e active), but later models had the amp fitted elsewhere (or shared the main amp). I understand that there may have been changes to other parts of the system also, and possibly more changes with the Gen 2 Macan.

The two different types of sub enclosure are shown by Andrewbbq and Teddis in this thread/page: Macan BOSE to BURMESTER Speaker Swap
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice analysis! It's good to see some actual data instead of subjective opinion. Curious if your Macan has the panoramic sun roof and if the interior cover (sun shade) is open or closed, if that makes much difference.
Very good point dleuen. Yes, I have a panoramic sunroof and the sunshade was open. Yet another large hard surface for sound to reflect off of. I also have full leather seats vs. Alcantara.

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Which version/year of Bose are you analysing? I understand it has changed at least once. My 2015 car has the sub's amp mounted to its enclosure (i.e active), but later models had the amp fitted elsewhere (or shared the main amp). I understand that there may have been changes to other parts of the system also, and possibly more changes with the Gen 2 Macan.

The two different types of sub enclosure are shown by Andrewbbq and Teddis in this thread/page: Macan BOSE to BURMESTER Speaker Swap
I have a 2016 Macan S. I suspect I have the same system as you but can't confirm now. Another forum member told me they changed the Audio system slightly between 2016 and 2017. I do know I have a smaller silver amp vs. the larger black amp shown in your link. This would lead me to believe my sub amp is mounted to my subwoofer. However, I have not taken the sub out yet to confirm.

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Nice work! Would love to see the same analysis for the Burmester. We own two Macans and one has Bose the other Burmester. The difference is substantial of course, but would like to understand why the upgrade cost is so huge.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Nice work! Would love to see the same analysis for the Burmester. We own two Macans and one has Bose the other Burmester. The difference is substantial of course, but would like to understand why the upgrade cost is so huge.
Send me a Burmester system. I would be happy to review :).

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My 2018 w/ Bose does not have a dedicated sub amp. This is great info what tool/s are you using for this analysis?
 

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My 2018 w/ Bose does not have a dedicated sub amp. This is great info what tool/s are you using for this analysis?
My 2018 has. It's in the spare tire well.
picture shown in my 2018. No “dedicated” or separate sub amp compared to previous years. It’s an empty space on the left side where the sub amp used to be in previous model years.
If your 2018 has a dedicated sub amp, I’m gonna have to make a trip to the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My 2018 w/ Bose does not have a dedicated sub amp. This is great info what tool/s are you using for this analysis?
It's a free software I have been using for years. Google ROOM EQ WIZARD. You'll need a laptop, USB audio interface (many available for under $100), and a quality measurement microphone (again, many options available for under $100). Its a very easy software to use and is very powerful features.

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Discussion Starter #12
My 2018 w/ Bose does not have a dedicated sub amp. This is great info what tool/s are you using for this analysis?


picture shown in my 2018. No “dedicated” or separate sub amp compared to previous years. It’s an empty space on the left side where the sub amp used to be in previous model years.
If your 2018 has a dedicated sub amp, I’m gonna have to make a trip to the dealer.
Bose changed their amp strategy in 2017. 2015 and 2016 models had a multi-channel amplifier mounted in the rear left access panel to drive rear door and front speakers. A second amp was bolted to the sub box to provide power to the subwoofer. In 2017 they merged the two amplifiers together into one unit (I assume a cost savings measure). The larger amp is still mounted in the rear left access panel. The amp that used to be mounted to the sub has been removed. You have a hole in your sub box where the amp used to go because Bose didn't feel the need to re-tool that large plastic enclosure. That tooling is big $$$. I don't blame them.

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Bose changed their amp strategy in 2017. 2015 and 2016 models had a multi-channel amplifier mounted in the rear left access panel to drive rear door and front speakers. A second amp was bolted to the sub box to provide power to the subwoofer. In 2017 they merged the two amplifiers together into one unit (I assume a cost savings measure). The larger amp is still mounted in the rear left access panel. The amp that used to be mounted to the sub has been removed. You have a hole in your sub box where the amp used to go because Bose didn't feel the need to re-tool that large plastic enclosure. That tooling is big $$$. I don't blame them.

Ge0
So now it is a secret storage area for those that need a stash? For me it might hold a couple of microwave popcorn packages.
 

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Tonight we look at what surround mode does. First things first it throws frequency response way off in the lower mid-range. Here is a plot with surround on and linear off. Vocals will sound overly thick due to the massive boost 100Hz to 300Hz. But will sound thin in the male lower primary vocal range due to the significant dip at 450Hz. Above 600Hz everything is reasonable. The end result is nothing sounds natural.
Linear off vs Surround on.png

Linear off vs Surround on.png


Mind you, frequency response is not everything. To achieve the wider sound stage in simulated 2 channel surround mode Bose sets left and right channels out of phase. This creates incoherent presence far left and far right to widen the sound stage. The center remains fixed in an attempt to maintain some center stage. Yet, the stage remains unfocused and low in the dash board. I also hear some weird extended reverberation. More on that later. Needless to say I don't care much for simulated surround mode unless I am listening to EDM music like break beat or good old Detroit techno. Here a coherent center stage is not as important as an ultrawide soundstage and club presence. So, simulated surround has its purposes. But for select types of music. Never use it for vocals....

I don't want to downplay surround in this system. When playing true Dolby 5.1 or DVD Audio material in surround mode this system is astonishing. I love it. I played everything from Miles Davis, to Insane Clown Posse, to Pink Floyd, to Ministry It all was reproduced very good. For a vehicle... The only system I have ever heard that could kick its ass in multi-channel audio was the system I built in a Dodge Durango in 2008. But then it took me 2 years to build this system and about $6000 in equipment, supplies, and unlimited free labor. This will give you a good idea where technology has come and what OEM suppliers can do on a must lesser budget. I used to laugh at Bose as a serious sound quality provider. But, I now have reason to question my own opinion. Bose is not perfect. But I think they have the right ideas and show promise if given budget by their customers (i.e. Porsche).

Please understand. Bose, Sony, Pioneer, Harman, etc. have the competency to produce world class audio systems given adequate budget. But their customers (i.e Porsche) need to set a price point and limit. More often than not OEM's will charge you a premium for a main stream solution. However, for a massive markup they will offer a system from a high end brand ( Burmester, B&O, Meridian, Levinson, Revel, etc.) for a massive premium to buy upgraded equipment. The difference may be only 20%. But you must chose between value propositions. I have never heard the Burm system. But I am **** sure I could do better with aftermarket install vs. what Porsche would charge for a similar SQ level.

Ge0
 

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Great thread and I am following with interest. To be honest I haven't fully investigated the Bose system in my 2015 Macan. In the early days of ownership I did experiment with the 'surround' mode, and decided (possibly rather naively) that I preferred the sound. I didn't experiment with different music types, but now maybe I will!

One question: You mention Bose being particularly good when playing Dolby 5.1 or DVD Audio. What source are you using here? Do you simply put an audio DVD in the CD player, or is this done from a different source (stored jukebox file or iPhone?).

I have a 2016 Macan S. I suspect I have the same system as you but can't confirm now. Another forum member told me they changed the Audio system slightly between 2016 and 2017. I do know I have a smaller silver amp vs. the larger black amp shown in your link. This would lead me to believe my sub amp is mounted to my subwoofer. However, I have not taken the sub out yet to confirm.
Yes that makes sense, and I am glad that you are analyzing the same system as mine. You can actually just about feel the sub amp with your fingers down the rear edge of the sub enclosure, without removing it. Look at the pictures first so you know what you are feeling for!

For completeness/reference here is a picture of my 'smaller' silver amp from the earlier Bose systems like ours:

IMG_3726.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great thread and I am following with interest. To be honest I haven't fully investigated the Bose system in my 2015 Macan. In the early days of ownership I did experiment with the 'surround' mode, and decided (possibly rather naively) that I preferred the sound. I didn't experiment with different music types, but now maybe I will!

One question: You mention Bose being particularly good when playing Dolby 5.1 or DVD Audio. What source are you using here? Do you simply put an audio DVD in the CD player, or is this done from a different source (stored jukebox file or iPhone?).
1.) Don't let someone else (including myself) tell you what sounds good. That is personal preference. If you like surround mode stick with it. I'm just reporting back my measurements and personal observations.

2.) Music I have in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DVD audio is distributed on disc. I'm not sure if a streaming service offers multi-channel audio due to the high bit-rate involved

3.) I confirm we have the same amps. However, that should not matter for this discussion. The overall system calibration / tuning should remain the same.

Ge0
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Today we look at something different. Waterfall plots are important in audio reproduction because they tell you how fast a sound that was last played decays in volume. It is important that sound doesn't continuously bounce all over the cabin and interfere with the next sound that is to be reproduced. Reflected sound adds and subtracts from current played sound. This causes the peaks and valleys you see in your frequency response which results in unnatural audio playback.

With that said, we NEED reflections for sound to seem natural. Without reflections it would sound like you were listening to music in an Anechoic chamber (dead room). Human ears filter out all reflections below 50mS. At 100mS to 200mS reflections make the room sound more lively (small club). At 300mS we start to hear echo's. Above 300mS the listening space starts to sound like a large club, church, etc. Think about those cheesy modes on your old AV receiver. At 1 second or greater you sense that you are in a mountain range or canyon. In my humble opinion 100mS to 200mS is the sweet spot.

Bass frequencies have longer wavelength and more energy. They tend to reverberate longer. As you increase in frequency the power density decreases and sounds settle down quicker. It is important that bass frequencies don't reflect for too long. The longer they stick around the more muddy your bass will seem. That, and it really screws with frequency response as stated earlier.

Please keep in mind that reflections will exist regardless of the audio system package you purchased. This is a function of the vehicles dimensions and interior surfaces. Sound attenuates quickly over distance. Inside a car distances are small. Sound is dampened quicker when hitting soft surfaces. It stays around longer when reflecting off hard surfaces such as glass, plastic, and leather. These are the primary materials used in a cars interior. Compare that to a movie theater or concert hall. Why do you think they hang those big drapes on the walls? Making a car sound good is difficult due to the nature of the environment.

So, let's measure the performance inside a Porsche Macan. Mine has the performance package plus which includes leather seats and a large panoramic sunroof. The dash is leather. The head / roof liner is cloth. My car is a bad example for reflection control.

All the plots I am about to show are filtered for 1/12th octave response vs. the 1/3rd octave response typically used to study frequency response. I do this to provide finer detail regarding sound reflection in vehicle.

Let's start with Linear off and Surround off.
Linear off waterfall.png


A majority of the frequency spectra decays around 120mS. Not bad. The bass frequencies below 100Hz ring longer as expected. The longest ringing notes are centered around 35Hz and go past the 300mS barrier. Bass will be a little muddy.

NOTE: If you removed the Z axis information and only left X&Y you would see my vehicles frequency response filtered in higher resolution 1/12th octave. This looks a lot rougher than it did in 1/3rd octave. But, this is not that concerning. What you see and what you hear are two different things. Your ears hear closer to 1/3rd octave.

Now lets look at Linear on and Surround off:
Linear on waterfall.png


This looks a lot like the response with Linear off. The difference being bass decays quicker. However, remember with Linear on the system reduces the amplitude of bass frequencies. Linear on reduces bass at 35Hz. The note starts off from a lower level so decays sooner.

Now let's look at what 2 channel simulated Surround mode on does. I will leave Linear off:
Surround On Linear off waterfall.png


This is quite a bit different. In many spots sound appears to reflect longer. In the bass region it reflects much longer. This is not physically possible. The vehicles surfaces and dimensions did not change. What is happening here is electronic signal manipulation. Bose may be adding time delay to the rear channels to give a sense of spaciousness. This makes the listening area sound larger than what it actually is. However, look at the bass region. The peak at 40Hz keeps going and going. Bass response will sound like a muddy mess.

There is not much you can do about reflections in your car. You can correct frequency response through equalization. However, the only way to tame reflections is to treat the interior. Back in my sound quality competition days I would place a thick mat on my dashboard. Also, cloth seat overs. Sunroof? Make sure the shade is closed. This was primarily done to prevent reflections from creating serious problems with frequency response. The less you manipulate the signal with equalization the better. EQ can add phase response errors that negatively impact sound stage imaging.

But that's a little extreme. Our cars actually behave pretty good. My advice. Just drive and listen to good music. If you want to tame bass reflections a little stuff your sub trunk with towels and such to reduce vibrations and dampen bass notes quicker.

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Tonight we look at what surround mode does. First things first it throws frequency response way off in the lower mid-range. Here is a plot with surround on and linear off. Vocals will sound overly thick due to the massive boost 100Hz to 300Hz. But will sound thin in the male lower primary vocal range due to the significant dip at 450Hz. Above 600Hz everything is reasonable. The end result is nothing sounds natural.
Although I purchased my Turbo almost two months back I only in the last week found the Bose settings menu. I wasn’t unhappy with the sound of the system but I was not impressed with it either. It seemed a little muddy and without separation. I’m not an audiophile at all. If I had to describe what I like to hear in music in a car it would be clarity and separation. I found that by turning off the Bose Surround and linear it did improve what I described as clarity and separation. Does that fit with your assessment of the Bose system?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Although I purchased my Turbo almost two months back I only in the last week found the Bose settings menu. I wasn’t unhappy with the sound of the system but I was not impressed with it either. It seemed a little muddy and without separation. I’m not an audiophile at all. If I had to describe what I like to hear in music in a car it would be clarity and separation. I found that by turning off the Bose Surround and linear it did improve what I described as clarity and separation. Does that fit with your assessment of the Bose system?
I'm not the biggest fan of Bose 2 channel simulated surround. This is where they take stereo sources such as CD, FM radio, streaming Bluetooth audio, and Sirius XM and try to turn it into surround music. It just sounds un-natural and meh... With surround OFF turning Linear mode ON or OFF comes down to personal preference. I like the fact that linear mode tames bass a little and extends highs. However, it also attenuates lower vocal range as well which makes vocals sound a little thin. I often bounce between Linear On/Off depending on what I am listening to.

NOW!!! Do yourself a favor and find some true multi-channel Dolby 5.1 or DVD audio discs of your favorite music and give this a try. Ebay is a good source. There may be others.

This is where the Bose system shines. It will blow you away with its accuracy. My "go to" reference is Miles Davis Kind of Blue in DVD audio. Holy crap does this sound real on this system. This is the prime example of what multi-channel audio can offer. Unfortunately multi-channel high end media solutions failed. Only a handful of people want them. 90% of the public is fine listening to Pandora streamed in 2 channels at 60KBPS.

OK. I went overboard. I agree with your initial assessment. However, I highly recommend you try some quality multi-channel source music :)

Ge0
 

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Thanks for the info. It looks like Amazon has a large selection of audio DVDs. Don’t think I will be replacing my entire music library but I’ll try a couple of classic albums like Pet Sounds or some Steely Dan. I’ll see what I can find. It would be pretty funny if I started driving around with a huge book of discs like it was 25 years back.
 
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