My new SLS

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I will have word with the person that looks after. My S-Class at Brooklands who also looks after the SLS, to see if it' a common problem.
Sorry to hear that the problem has not yet been resolved to your satisfaction. On a c.100k car I would expect/demand that the audio was fantastic. I have the HK on mine and whilst it is certainly better than the standard it is not outstanding. I listen mainly to reggae from 1965-1980(pre digital) and the sound quality is never going to be first class because the original recordings were not. However, newer recordings should be absolutely distortion free. It may be that the system is just not good enough for you. I mean, it's not as though you have no experience of high end audio in high end cars.
It may well be that an aftermarket system is the way forward, and if so I would push for a contribution.
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The thing is when you spend mega money on what is suppossed to be a quality car you don't expect the audio to sound like a cheap 1970's transitor radio!
Lovely car are rollin' like a true baller :)
The thing is when you spend mega money on what is suppossed to be a quality car you don't expect the audio to sound like a cheap 1970's transitor radio!

Or is it that you buy a supercar with a loud engine and nobody expects to listen to the radio.....
I've yet to see a review of a Ferrari or Lamborghini that commented on the audio system! Still for a GT car like the SLS I'd expect it to be top notch.
And Mark (TheDeadPrussian), if it remains unresolved after the sub is replaced next week, I would like to take you up on your offer of listening to yours to see if it really is what they're all like!

No problem; just give me a shout via PM and I'll be happy to have you come over and have a listen to mine.
I'm sure the dealer will be doing all they can to help sort out the problem.
Hi all and thanks for the constructive feedback so far.

Whilst I hold little hope for it to be fixed by Mercedes, I have to at least wait and see what the result is after they have replaced the broken sub (which in all likelihood isn't broken!).

If I get it back and it's fixed then fantastic but, as this is unlikely, I can either let this spoil my enjoyment of the car or I can do something about it. Obviously the latter is the only option because this problem aside, the car is a sensational piece of kit, something I can honestly say that even with an unlimited budget, there is no finer single car that I could buy (for the kind of use that I need it for). C-Class estate excepted of course ;)

I will of course try it with a better quality source but in all honesty, if it can't perform using the source I want to use (and that works exceptionally well to my ears in other cars), then it's not much use to me. I have to get this working for me so it's off to decent high-end car-audio installer for their opinion and I'll hopefully get it fixed via the aftermarket route. Thanks for the recommendations on who I can take this to, both on this thread and via PM, because when I say I need a 'decent high-end installer', I wouldn't know where to start and therefore am in the hands of informed recommendations.

What I do find quite interesting is the response I got from an email that I sent to Bang and Olufsen regarding this issue....

I am writing to you regarding the B&O installation in the Mercedes SLS AMG.

Having recently purchased this car, I'm very dissatisfied with the audio quality provided by the system which has the B&O branding, and which B&O claim to have developed for this car. Indeed, so bad is the problem that I initially thought it to be a faulty subwoofer but, having now listened to another example which displays exactly the same characteristics, I can only deem the problem to be typical of the B&O audio system in the SLS.

The characteristic in question is an inability to produce bass at medium volume upwards, without a distortion coming from the subwoofer. This is not a distortion of the surrounding trim; it's more typical of the cone vibrating through either poor design, poor installation or incorrect wiring. Given it's unlikely that two different cars have an identical fault, my fear is that this is not a repairable issue and is in fact how the system has been designed and approved by your company and AMG.

I appreciate quality of sound is subjective and personal however, in direct comparison with listening to the same music and source (320kb MP3 files) on more basic audio systems in other cars, including Mercedes' own unbranded and Harman Kardon systems, the B&O branded systems' inability to produce undistorted bass is unacceptable, especially given the considerable cost of this option.

I would therefore like to understand if you feel this characteristic is typical or whether the audio system has been designed to handle low bass frequencies without distorting. The dealer is unable to do anything other than replace any faulty parts, however, if this is how the audio system is designed to sound then there's unlikely to be any faulty parts to replace. Given this problem is a feature of both examples I've listened to, I find it astonishing that B&O and AMG would sign-off such a poor sound quality from what is a very expensive option and would appreciate your response to this feedback and any remedial action that I could take to improve the performance of this system.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I received the following response this morning, which I read as B&O either being totally disinterested in a product which they haven't 'directly' sold or....they and Mercedes actually know it's rubbish. What are your thoughts on this....

Dear Mr Palmer

We are pleased to see you are the owner of Mercedes SLS AMG with Bang & Olufsen sound.

I am sorry to inform you that I can not give you any details regarding your problem. We have been giving strict orders from Mercedes that we can not comment on any questions/complaints. We must refer to the dealer or Mercedes.

Sorry I was unable to help you, but hope you understand.

I still have a contact at AMG in Germany so, if my car comes back from the dealer as expected (i.e. in the same state that it went in), then I'll be forwarding my complaint, with B&O's response, directly to AMG to see what they have to say about it.
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So they know about an existing problem and are dictating what their suppliers should say, or not say more is to the point. Very poor.

Thank you for keeping us informed.

Good Luck
Well, all I can suggest is a sound off with TheDeadPrussian.

Seems to suggest that B&O are just paid a fee by Mercedes and have sold out their @ss to allow Mercedes to brand up any old tat at B&O and charge a hefty premium.

Keep it in context though, may move from your usual jungle music to some classical - might improve your mpg too!!!

I'd agree with Simon - it doesnt surprise me that B&O don't want to get involved in any dispute between MB and their customers.
Personally, I find turning up the bass on any audio equipment just makes it soft and muddies the overall sound.

Turn it down and keep it tight.
Personally, I find turning up the bass on any audio equipment just makes it soft and muddies the overall sound.

Turn it down and keep it tight.

Problem with most audio systems is when you boost or cut bass frequencies they are often very far up the frequency range. I have seen "bass" controls that tweak the 250hz range. When most people are referring to bass they normally mean the sub 100hz range.
If your have a good high pass filter on your full range speakers and a decent sub to take all the hard work away from the door speakers then it can sound very good, without spending too much.
Lots of mb sound systems have too much bass going to the door speakers as standard imo.

Out of all the problems there could possibly be with this car, sorting a sound system is one of the easiest!
Personally, I find turning up the bass on any audio equipment just makes it soft and muddies the overall sound.

Turn it down and keep it tight.
One of the issues with bass boost is that the amp soon runs out of headroom. Without serious amplification and/or a very efficient driver, most amps start to clip at fairly modest overall spl's once you ask them to give 10 or 12 dB of boost at low frequencies (where the ear is least sensitive).

However, from Palmball's description it sounds as though the sub's motor assembly is reaching the end of its travel with the combination of bass boost and overall volume he's using. Only solution is to use a more capable driver, and possibly a more capable amp too if that's being driven too hard.
I'm no audiophile, but in the past I have repaired a few audio amps, and as Phil says, surprising how quickly even quality amps start clipping. Easily checked by putting a scope on the output while they are driving the speakers.

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