By @David #144
While I was in Moab, I had a chance to ride in a 2-Door Badlands Bronco (in Velocity Blue!) and to hook up my phone to the Sync 4 and try the B&O audio system. The ride lasted about an hour and a half, and I was able to listen for most of that time. The Badlands was loaded with the leather interior, 2.7L EcoBoost, Sasquatch, and, obviously, Lux package. Here’s what I thought of the sound.
What I Want from Audio
Before I get into it though, I want to give some disclaimers. I’ve been an amateur musician and over-all music lover since before I can remember, but I’m not a sound engineer. My experience is that impressions of sound quality are very subjective. I’ve listened to “good” audio systems that I don’t like and “bad” systems that I do like. Also, anything that’s pulling compressed audio from your phone wirelessly is going to have a ceiling of quality. However, I do have things that I look for in the sound of a system, and I felt like the B&O system did well in several of those areas.
That out of the way, I look for an in-vehicle system to do a few things. I want it to adequately cover road noise, fill the cabin with uniformly rich sound, and I want to be able to focus on the performance of individual instruments within the recording. The final one is the most important to me. I’m a big Americana guy and most of what I listen to is acoustic instrument based so I like to be able to pick out the guitar from the piano from the “color” instruments like banjos, mandolins, lap-steels, and dulcimers.
B&O vs. Soft Top Road Noise
For covering road noise, the system had a taller than average order to fill. The Badlands that I was testing was on 35s since it had Sasquatch and was equipped with the Bestop fastback-style soft top so the road noise was probably a sight more than cruising in a Navigator. It did well, but I probably had to turn the volume a little higher than I would have liked, because it started to impact how well I heard the other person in the Bronco. Overall, I thought that it did the best it could under the circumstances. Road noise is your trade-off for all the other things that Bronco can do.
However, at that volume I felt like the sound was immersive. It filled the cabin, and the passenger agreed that she felt like the direction of the audio was tuned well for the passenger seat, though she had to raise her voice a bit to tell me. I didn’t try it in the back seats. Given where the speaker positions are, there should be adequate coverage back there.
Bronco B&O Sound System: Worth It
The articulation of the different instrument tracks was probably where the system performed the best. Ten speakers give you a lot of sources to separate the different tracks into, and I felt like I could zero in and focus on the instrument that I was interested in very well. When listening to a blue grass track, the bass bits of the guitar often get lost or hard to distinguish from the upright bass track. I didn’t feel like this was the case on the B&O system, and I was listening to tracks that I was very familiar with and had heard them on a number of different systems.
So my review of the system in a 2-Door Bronco would be pretty positive. While I probably wouldn’t spend the cash for Lux just because of the B&O system (I’m going to get it for other reasons), it made me feel better about the decision to get the highest package. There are other options that I haven’t tried yet though. I haven’t heard the standard system, and I haven’t heard the JBL sound bar that’s coming. As a guy who finds music to be a key part of any driving experience, I can’t wait to try them all.