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Discussion Starter #1
I brought some CDs to the dealership today and used them to evaluate the 825W Meridian system for a 1/2 hour or so. My overall impression was that the 825W system sounds really good and has solid bass capabilities. Being someone that appreciates the bass characteristics of music most, the system's bass capabilities were the focus of my evaluation. I share my thoughts here in case they may help anyone else is considering the 825W system or the other two Meridian system options.

Incidentally, I like it when the bass in music is tight, "thumpy," and balanced with the treble and mid-range aspects of the music. I don't look for the bass to overpower the music and dislike loose and boomy bass. I'm not someone who wants an aftermarket subwoofer cranked loud so that people a block away can hear the bass. Well integrated bass with presence is what I look for in sound systems.

The 825W Meridian system had enough bass capabilities that I would be happy to have it, but I would still prefer a system with more base capabilities. With the 825W system today, I had the subwoofer level adjusted higher than seemed ideal (75% of max) to get the bass where I wanted it. I say higher than ideal because it suggested that there wasn't much additional capacity in the system. Increasing the subwoofer level higher than 75% caused the bass to start sounding boomy and unbalanced. Adjusting the Bass level higher (separate from the subwoofer adjustment level) seemed prone to making the sound muddled to my ear without improving the thumpy and percussive quality of the bass.

Speaking of adjustments, the adjustment options for the 825W system I found in my limited testing were changing the Bass, Treble, and Sub levels and to switching between 4 different sound profiles. The Meridian profile sounded best to me. My current vehicle, a 2007 BMW 335i has a Logic 7 system, surprisingly has more adjustment capabilities, e.g., you can adjust the levels of about 10 different frequencies individually to really shape the sound how you like it.

I'm leaning towards upgrading to the 1700W signature Meridian system in my upcoming AB order despite its steep price because I appreciate high performing sound systems. My understanding from other reviews is that it is about the best one can have in a vehicle. Unfortunately, the dealership near me doesn't have one to try and doesn't expect to have any in the near future because it is an expensive option most buyers forego. I plan to keep my RRS for a long time (~10 years like my current car) and don't want to have any regrets with regard to the sound system.
 

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Good review. I'd be interested to hear what you think of the 1700W system. The ROI on a stereo upgrade is poor, but if you plan to keep your vehicle that long then it's definitely worth the upgrade as audio is clearly important to you.

I had the same dilemma as you and fortunately my dealer found a used RR ATB with the signature system to let me listen to. Of course that system has a few extra speakers but I was sold on the upgrade. It's a great stereo and even at 50 percent the bass is solid enough for me.
 

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Yeah, I'd love to hear a comparison between the 825W and the 1700W.

For me the 825W is enough. I listen moderately loud at times, but, not even close to the capability of the system. The roof speakers likely bring the sound stage up which would be nice.
 

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To me listening to them back to back honestly, there is a difference but not by much. I would be happy with the 825W, but at the time I ordered there was an availability issue with the 825's, so people ordering the SC dynamic package could get the 1700W basically for half-off. If it were full price I would have stuck with the 825W.

So I guess to me it's worth $3-4k but not $6k.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good review. I'd be interested to hear what you think of the 1700W system. The ROI on a stereo upgrade is poor, but if you plan to keep your vehicle that long then it's definitely worth the upgrade as audio is clearly important to you.

I had the same dilemma as you and fortunately my dealer found a used RR ATB with the signature system to let me listen to. Of course that system has a few extra speakers but I was sold on the upgrade. It's a great stereo and even at 50 percent the bass is solid enough for me.
Glad to hear that you are happy with the 1700W system and found the upgrade worth it - especially given that you had the benefit of hearing both the 825W and 1700W systems before deciding. A system being able to provide the sound you like comfortably within its adjustment range for each of treble, bass, and subwoofer is a good suitability metric of the system for you.

I prefer to be comfortably within a system's range than near its limits. Others might validly argue that paying for extra range not actually used doesn't make sense. For me, some extra head space is nice in case your ever in the mood for a bit more or a given track/album would benefit from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
To me listening to them back to back honestly, there is a difference but not by much. I would be happy with the 825W, but at the time I ordered there was an availability issue with the 825's, so people ordering the SC dynamic package could get the 1700W basically for half-off. If it were full price I would have stuck with the 825W.

So I guess to me it's worth $3-4k but not $6k.
Helpful perspective on the magnitude of difference between the two systems. That's always the concern: there being a difference, but not that great of one. Perhaps not enough of a difference to justify the big price difference between them. For a 2017 ATB build, the price to upgrade from the 825W to 1700W system is $4,450, which is close to the high end of your value range.

That's an interesting scenario you had when ordering your vehicle with regards to the stereo options. Very cool that you were able to get a good deal on the 1700W system because of supply issues.
 

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Just curious GoHawks; since much of bass response is power limited not speaker limited, would you consider an aftermarket upgrade to the power amp, or do you prefer not to mess with OEM?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just curious GoHawks; since much of bass response is power limited not speaker limited, would you consider an aftermarket upgrade to the power amp, or do you prefer not to mess with OEM?
I agree that upgrading the power amp would make a significant difference. I would consider an aftermarket solution, but it seems like it could be a pretty involved process from what I've read. A few different posters have described their efforts to upgrade their sound systems either to replicate the 825W system starting from the base system or to wholly aftermarket alternatives. Their efforts and skill seemed pretty extensive - certainly beyond what I could do myself.

If the price of hiring a professional to install an aftermarket solution began to approach the $4,450 premium charged to upgrade to the OEM 1700W system, I'd be inclined to just stick with the OEM option. I'm not sure what aftermarket prices might be to improve the power output, but it could be a good alternative and is worth investigating.
 

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Get the OEM 1700W system if you love music. I can tell you from experience. My first L494 had it. Its just that good. You can turn up to 50 without getting quality to drop and if you listen you hear instruments\sounds you don't even notice in the 825W. And I know this from playing all my best music in both cars. Is it twice as good? Yes or almost. The 825W is great but only if you have never really lived with the 1700W one. I was talked out of getting the upgrade in my current ATB to save some money by my salesman. Once I took delivery of the car it just wasn't the same. To be honest I regreted the decision for 3 or so months and then eventually got used to the lowered expectations from the 825W and now it sounds greeaat! :D
 

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That's a good way to put it. It's clear people listening to the base stereo feel something is lacking. I have yet to hear of somebody on this forum who regrets getting the 825W system (aside from vaser but he's happy now!). If you get it, you will be satisfied. However, if you listen to it compared to the 1700W, then you will notice a difference even if it may not be dramatic.

I guess it depends on if you are the type who is happy with a known entity and don't need to see what else is out there, or if you are the person who will always wonder what if. I'm more of the second group I'll admit!
 

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Definitely go for the 1700w, number one option i wish my car had :( The 825w system is pretty good, but as soon as you start pushing it, and the volume reaches 30, I start getting speaker rattle and distortion. If I really crank it up to level 40 with high bass on punchy songs, the stereo just can't hang and struggles to product the punch and rumble. Testing with a CD is a great way to do it. I recommend Adele's new album, her "Hello" song is actually an amazing track to demo the stereo because her bass is SO strong and full, unlike rap which is just designed to blow your speakers. I've also listened to Fleetwood Mac which is also a great album to demo stereos (make sure it's the remastered). The guitar strings on "Never Going back again" will really tell you how precise your tweeters and mids are. The $$ may sound like a lot but if you don't go big you'll always regret it, and nothing beats rockin out on a perfect day, windy road, sunroof open and your favorite tunes sounding their best. Don't forget, with the premium system you also get carbon speakers as opposed to the paper in the lower end systems.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's a good way to put it. It's clear people listening to the base stereo feel something is lacking. I have yet to hear of somebody on this forum who regrets getting the 825W system (aside from vaser but he's happy now!). If you get it, you will be satisfied. However, if you listen to it compared to the 1700W, then you will notice a difference even if it may not be dramatic.

I guess it depends on if you are the type who is happy with a known entity and don't need to see what else is out there, or if you are the person who will always wonder what if. I'm more of the second group I'll admit!
That's a good way to differentiate people/consumers and probably explains many aspects of their purchasing decisions. I have to admit I'm generally in this camp as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Definitely go for the 1700w, number one option i wish my car had :( The 825w system is pretty good, but as soon as you start pushing it, and the volume reaches 30, I start getting speaker rattle and distortion. If I really crank it up to level 40 with high bass on punchy songs, the stereo just can't hang and struggles to product the punch and rumble. Testing with a CD is a great way to do it. I recommend Adele's new album, her "Hello" song is actually an amazing track to demo the stereo because her bass is SO strong and full, unlike rap which is just designed to blow your speakers. I've also listened to Fleetwood Mac which is also a great album to demo stereos (make sure it's the remastered). The guitar strings on "Never Going back again" will really tell you how precise your tweeters and mids are. The $$ may sound like a lot but if you don't go big you'll always regret it, and nothing beats rockin out on a perfect day, windy road, sunroof open and your favorite tunes sounding their best. Don't forget, with the premium system you also get carbon speakers as opposed to the paper in the lower end systems.
You should write ad copy for Land Rover as you paint a compelling scene. :D Going for the 1700W system is where my heart is at and everyone's comments have helped cement that notion for me.

I wasn't aware of the speaker material difference. Thanks for pointing that out.
 

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I have a similar appreciation for audio, and I don't intent on keeping my Rover nearly as long as you, yet I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on the top of the line system.

Just go for it. 10 years is a long time to spend listening to music in your vehicle, especially if you end up even slightly disappointed with the mid-tier system. The cost difference averaged out over the time you plan to keep your car, is peanuts. You're worth it. :)
 

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Ironically, since this will be for my wife and she hates "when I turn it up", I would always regret not hearing those 1700 watts if I paid for them, which would lead to unpleasant rides, so it's the 825 watt system for me!
 

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I have a similar appreciation for audio, and I don't intent on keeping my Rover nearly as long as you, yet I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on the top of the line system.

Just go for it. 10 years is a long time to spend listening to music in your vehicle, especially if you end up even slightly disappointed with the mid-tier system. The cost difference averaged out over the time you plan to keep your car, is peanuts. You're worth it. :)
Thanks, man. I hope my wife agrees when/if she learns what the upgraded stereo costs....

I completely agree though: the cost-benefit analysis weighs strongly towards going for it when planning to keep the vehicle a long time.
 

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Ironically, since this will be for my wife and she hates "when I turn it up", I would always regret not hearing those 1700 watts if I paid for them, which would lead to unpleasant rides, so it's the 825 watt system for me!
Sage perspective in your scenario, Gotwish. She would probably grow weary of your efforts to "help her appreciate her system's full potential" by tweaking the volume higher each time you rode with her.
 
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