Thoughts on B&O vs Stock Stereo / Audio after Bronco event

UncleBuck

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Went to a local Bronco event recently and got to see a Big Bend and an OBX.
As someone who ordered a Badlands w/ SAS and MGV, most of my questions were left unanswered.
Fortunately the Big Bend had the mid-package w/ stock stereo and the OBX had the Lux w/ the B&O.

I asked the rep if I could stay late after they shut things down so I could crank both stereos up and compare them...and they said sure!
I tried a few different songs on my iPhone on both so I could get an equal comparison.
Here are some of my thoughts:

A lot of people have said the B&O is nothing to write home about...and unfortunately I agree. That being said there is definitely a difference between the stock and the upgraded stereo system. The bass is deeper and the mids/highs come through cleaner.
I went to a different Ford dealership and listened to the "B&O unleashed" in the F-150 line. That was a great sound system (18 speakers vs the Bronco 10 speaker).
I think a lot of the problem with the Bronco B&O system is where the speakers are placed. They are clustered in the front and the back. There are no speakers on the doors (for obvious reasons) and no speakers in the middle (near the B pillar or head rest). So the music feels clustered in front of you if you're the driver/passenger or behind you if you're in the rear. I definitely did not get a surround sound feeling no matter where I sat.

I currently have the Lux package on my Bronco mainly for the B&O system, but I'm starting to second guess it.
The problem I am running into personally is this: when I do get my Bronco, I'm sure there will be some delay in aftermarket stereo system options specific to the Bronco/Sync 4. The B&O system is better than stock and I would hate having to wait a long time for a great aftermarket solution to come around.

Has anyone else listened to the B&O in the Bronco and have thoughts?
If the problem is the amount and location of speakers, I don’t know what an aftermarket system can improve on? You’re going to put speakers in the same places anyway unless you mount something on the roll cage in the middle like a Jeep, but then you lose the open air experience. I went with Lux partly for B&O because I want to crank that shit loud while driving with the top off and the stock speakers might blow out.





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D2dhanover

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Does anyone know the size of the B+O subwoofer? Wondering if a JL Audio subwoofer will fit in its place. I would hate to kill more storage space with a sub box under the rear seats. I hope the speakers don't need replacing as well...
From what I have seen without grille covers it looks like an 8 inch.
 

mrjerry469

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I have 2 Panasonic amplifiers I will see what to do with them I'm sure that Cruchfield will offer aftermarket products although they are high in price
 

Dads_bronze_bronco

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I’m still trying to understand the speaker placement. I know there are three in the dash, the sub, and 2 on the role bar in the back. Can anyone tell me where the other 4 are? If so, do you have pics?
Non B&O:
Two in the dash
Two in the front footwell kick panel
Two in the rear speaker pods

B&O adds the sub, and the center dash. Not sure where the other two are, but I would bet on separate components in the rear pods.

Wait....WHAT????

So are we to believe that Ford ran wires... I doubt it. They didn't for soft tops nor fog lights, why would they for a speaker.
Good question. I wish I had thought to ask that.
 

Rayder

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I listened to them at the event but have decided to not comment on them as of yet. I'd consider myself a low rent audiophile. I have ~$15k ELAC Adante based setup at home, and I had the Levinson system in my Lexus, which is the best I've heard in a car. So in reference to that everything sounds pretty bad to me unless we are talking some high end luxury vehicles (Hyundai's Infinity system is probably the best I've heard in a mass market vehicle). Thus, take my comments with a grain of salt.

The B&O Play system sounded bad, the standard setup was slightly worse. If you are after some extra loudness and bass I think you will be pleased. If you are after better sound quality you will be disappointed. Also I'd like to point out this is not a Bang and Olufsen system, it is a B&O Play system, which is a lower end sub brand owned by Bang and Olufsen. My understanding is that they are using mostly off the shelf components and tuning them. These are not true Bang and Olufsen made speakers like you would find in an Audi for instance. I also listened to the B&O system in the new F-150, and compared to the old Sony systems Ford used to use, and they are vastly inferior. The Sony systems in previous Ford products were actually quite good, but I think Sony does not have the brand cachet Ford was looking for. People think B&O and assume Bang & Olufsen, but that is not the case.
 

Ksjrb03

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I listened to them at the event but have decided to not comment on them as of yet. I'd consider myself a low rent audiophile. I have ~$15k ELAC Adante based setup at home, and I had the Levinson system in my Lexus, which is the best I've heard in a car. So in reference to that everything sounds pretty bad to me unless we are talking some high end luxury vehicles (Hyundai's Infinity system is probably the best I've heard in a mass market vehicle). Thus, take my comments with a grain of salt.

The B&O Play system sounded bad, the standard setup was slightly worse. If you are after some extra loudness and bass I think you will be pleased. If you are after better sound quality you will be disappointed. Also I'd like to point out this is not a Bang and Olufsen system, it is a B&O Play system, which is a lower end sub brand owned by Bang and Olufsen. My understanding is that they are using mostly off the shelf components and tuning them. These are not true Bang and Olufsen made speakers like you would find in an Audi for instance. I also listened to the B&O system in the new F-150, and compared to the old Sony systems Ford used to use, and they are vastly inferior. The Sony systems in previous Ford products were actually quite good, but I think Sony does not have the brand cachet Ford was looking for. People think B&O and assume Bang & Olufsen, but that is not the case.
Totally agree. The old Sony systems were WAY better than these B&O. After hearing the B&O in the wife’s F150, I had low expectations for the Bronco which unfortunately held true. I have not heard a base unit, but I can’t imagine anyone getting Lux only for the lackluster B&O system.
 

MadMan4BamaNATL

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I listened to them at the event but have decided to not comment on them as of yet. I'd consider myself a low rent audiophile. I have ~$15k ELAC Adante based setup at home, and I had the Levinson system in my Lexus, which is the best I've heard in a car. So in reference to that everything sounds pretty bad to me unless we are talking some high end luxury vehicles (Hyundai's Infinity system is probably the best I've heard in a mass market vehicle). Thus, take my comments with a grain of salt.

The B&O Play system sounded bad, the standard setup was slightly worse. If you are after some extra loudness and bass I think you will be pleased. If you are after better sound quality you will be disappointed. Also I'd like to point out this is not a Bang and Olufsen system, it is a B&O Play system, which is a lower end sub brand owned by Bang and Olufsen. My understanding is that they are using mostly off the shelf components and tuning them. These are not true Bang and Olufsen made speakers like you would find in an Audi for instance. I also listened to the B&O system in the new F-150, and compared to the old Sony systems Ford used to use, and they are vastly inferior. The Sony systems in previous Ford products were actually quite good, but I think Sony does not have the brand cachet Ford was looking for. People think B&O and assume Bang & Olufsen, but that is not the case.
Although I think sound systems are relative to the perspective of the listener and their quality of hearing, one can't begin to think of the sound stage of a Ford Bronco off roader with poor sound dampening to that of a plus sofa like environment of a Lexus with more sound deadening than most any other vehicle.

I have the Harmon Kardon system in my BMWs, which sounds decent, but it isn't tuned for classical music or jazz. Instead think rock and rap; nice mids and clear bass at higher volumes. In the cabin a BMW system gets loud.

Imagine Ford has gone for a similar esthetic for the Bronco B&O system; LOUD. Being able to hear my classic rock and metal over wind and road noise with the top off is about all that I expect. This ain't my Bimmer and I don't expect it to be or sound like it at all.

Jeep went with Alpine for the Wrangler which makes perfect sense as many of us had either an Alpine or Clarion system and amp back in the day of detachable faces and those were CD systems which sound the best.

These days, my collection is digital, fits on my phone, will be played through bluetooth, is compressed, and not my Hi-Res stuff.

When I'm playing Zeppelin, Sabbath, Jimi, Metallica, Soundgarden, TOOL, or even the Beatles in the Bronco, this won't be when I'm relaxed and primed for a serious listening session. I'll likely be half drunk, talking to my buddy and blasting it and being an overall douche bag and what others may view as obnoxious when rolling to my campsite.

Wrote all of that crap to just say, who cares?
 

VegasKoop

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If the problem is the amount and location of speakers, I don’t know what an aftermarket system can improve on? You’re going to put speakers in the same places anyway unless you mount something on the roll cage in the middle like a Jeep, but then you lose the open air experience. I went with Lux partly for B&O because I want to crank that shit loud while driving with the top off and the stock speakers might blow out.
It is virtually impossible to blow factory speakers with factory power. They design the system that way
 

Ricepuddin

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If the problem is the amount and location of speakers, I don’t know what an aftermarket system can improve on? You’re going to put speakers in the same places anyway unless you mount something on the roll cage in the middle like a Jeep, but then you lose the open air experience. I went with Lux partly for B&O because I want to crank that shit loud while driving with the top off and the stock speakers might blow out.
After market speakers will have better output, throw an amp in there to help the factory head unit and you'll have something better BO for cheaper.

https://www.caraudionow.com/need-amp-for-better-sound-car/
 

Broncodave

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Also I'd like to point out this is not a Bang and Olufsen system, it is a B&O Play system, which is a lower end sub brand owned by Bang and Olufsen. My understanding is that they are using mostly off the shelf components and tuning them.
Count me as one who did not realize that. Not that I was trusting even a Bang and Olufsen system to be great in this regard.

I should as suspected something like what you explained. When we saw the picture of one of the speakers, you could tell right away it was low end.
 

Theherofails

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Did you see if the sound settings were properly setup/not tinkered with on the SYNC4 system for the audio?

Only reason I ask, is me (being an idiot) drove around in my Jeep WK2 for the longest time not realizing I didn't have "surround sound" turned on in the settings. When I did that, it was night and day difference.

I'm not saying that's the issue, but worth looking at since people would likely tinker in the settings if they allowed for it or the default may be set differently.

This is exactly how it is in my 2021 Audi Q7 Prestige with a 19 speaker B&O system. If you don’t configure it in the infotainment settings, it’s just a really loud, yet bland, stereo system.
 

Macjr

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My current Tacoma has the jbl upgrade..is it worth it?, no. Losing that nice cubby behind the rear back seat to accommodate the sub on a lackluster stereo wasn’t worth it..I know you can’t compare it to a vehicle I haven’t driven yet but I remember missing the extra storage and sound didn’t blow me away in a truck w noisy tires to begin with..
 

Mattwings

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I find it fascinating all the different perspectives and urban legends that persist related to stereos and particularly mobile audio. I was in the business for a long time and many misunderstandings persist. A couple of items to consider. 1. You can definitely “blow” factory speakers with factory stereos. Most typically, the reason a speaker is damaged is an amplifier “clipping” or being turned up to the point they the amplifier creates a square wave and damages the speaker, not having to much power. 2. Although aftermarket speakers may sound better and may in fact be louder than factory, even with the factory amplifier, that is often dependent on the sensitivity of the speaker. Often times aftermarket speakers are rated to handle more power and actually will not be as loud with a factory amplifier. Just shop carefully. There are lots of other considerations to adding different speakers and amplifiers. I am thinking an 8” sub and a custom box in the stock B&O location, upgraded front speakers and a 4 channel amp with cross over (a big help for the small front speakers to not try and replicate the lowest tones) should make the sound worthy of the vehicle (loud enough to hear top down). Space looks tight for the amp, maybe something really small behind the subwoofer enclosure?). Hard to say on the pre-wiring for B&O. It’s all over the board from my experience. Sometimes the manufacturer specs the same harness for multiple models, sometimes not. Wire is heavy and expensive, so it seems like manufacturers try and keep it minimal. Hopefully there is a grommet on the firewall to run a power wire from the battery or power distribution block under the hood. I look forward to seeing what people come up with.
 

pony2bronco

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Unfortunately this is in line with one of the most comprehensive thoughts on the sound system I've come across. There isn't much out there. I too am also questioning the value of the LUX any more especially after seeing the new accessory catalog that states in several places this item is not avail or compatible with the lux package. One of those items being the JBL sound bar, which I imagine is likely better than the b&o system all together. That being said it's really only 2,500 dollar difference on a badlands going from the high package to lux. Since I am spending 50k, 2,500 really isn't that much difference on a payment plan over 60 months. So I will likely stick with it and just be disappointed in what's lame and happy with what's not. Maybe....

The JBL doesn't integrate with the stereo unfortunately
 

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