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Looking at the Volvo website, try to get a quote for my next XC90, but can't find the Bowers & Wilkins option, but if I change the trim to Inscription, then it's available. So, the B&W now only available for Inscription and above? Don't care about the fancy interior/exterior feature from Inscription, but really want the premium sound. Any one knows about this?
 

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You are right-- they took the B&W option away from Momentum buyers. There is an upgrade available, but it's a mid-level upgrade, to a Harman-Kardon branded system.

I guess that there were too many people like you (and me) who were perfectly happy with Momentum-level cars, but wanted top-level audio. For some reason, they don't want us to be happy anymore. Honestly, I don't know what they were thinking.

Edit: I should have added that most/all other car mfgs force you to upgrade your choice of trim if you want a top-line stereo, Audi being among the chief offenders. Volvo initially resisted that trend, which was one of the reasons I went with the XC90. Too bad Volvo eventually decided to follow the herd on this.
 

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If you get a chance, test drive a Momentum with the Harman-Kardon upgrade. On the center screen, set the equalization sliders as you'd like. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. My 2019 XC-90 Inscription has the HK and I love it. IMHO the >$3000.00 B&W was overkill. Many on this site will agree.
 

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IMHO the >$3000.00 B&W was overkill. Many on this site will agree.
And many will disagree with your statement, including me. The B&W sounds amazing and IMHO, it is worth every penny.

Whether someone should or should not get option X, it really is up to the buyer and their view of what is important to them.
 

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And many will disagree with your statement, including me. The B&W sounds amazing and IMHO, it is worth every penny.

Whether someone should or should not get option X, it really is up to the buyer and their view of what is important to them.
+1
 

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[
And many will disagree with your statement, including me. The B&W sounds amazing and IMHO, it is worth every penny.

Whether someone should or should not get option X, it really is up to the buyer and their view of what is important to them.
+3. I had a T6 Inscription with H&K for two days recently and it lacked the punch of B&W.
 

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[

+3. I had a T6 Inscription with H&K for two days recently and it lacked the punch of B&W.
Yep, I own both and you’re right, its not close. But the B&W may be one of the top 3 best systems in the world right now so it shouldn’t be.....I find myself taking the long way home sometimes at the end of the day enjoying my tunes.


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And I'm here with a with a Dynoaudio setup straight out of 2003 haha
 

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Yep, I own both and you’re right, its not close. But the B&W may be one of the top 3 best systems in the world right now so it shouldn’t be.....I find myself taking the long way home sometimes at the end of the day enjoying my tunes.


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Agreed. I often find myself changing the navigation settings from “fast” to “scenic” and I still might do another lap around the block to finish the track out. For my second Volvo, it’s a dream drive.
 

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Maybe it's different on the XC90, but going from one V90cc with the HK system and getting into another V90cc with B&W with the "sound stage" set-up the same, and the equalizers the same (or as similar as possible since they're different), and the song the same...the sound difference was negligible.

I guess if you listen to CDs or rip everything to a USB the B&W has an edge. Or if you're listening to a lot of high pitch vocal songs that lend themselves to the Concert Hall setting of the B&W system.

But if you're driving on the highway and listening to Sirius/XM or streaming audio, I think you'd be hard pressed to think there's a $4k difference.
 

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Maybe it's different on the XC90, but going from one V90cc with the HK system and getting into another V90cc with B&W with the "sound stage" set-up the same, and the equalizers the same (or as similar as possible since they're different), and the song the same...the sound difference was negligible.

I guess if you listen to CDs or rip everything to a USB the B&W has an edge. Or if you're listening to a lot of high pitch vocal songs that lend themselves to the Concert Hall setting of the B&W system.

But if you're driving on the highway and listening to Sirius/XM or streaming audio, I think you'd be hard pressed to think there's a $4k difference.
If you have B&W, of course either create your own USB drive of high quality tracks, or stream quality music online. Why Sirius or radio?
 

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I actually prefer the base stereo to the HK upgrade - if you can believe it. I get a month every year in a loaner due to 2016 issues, so I get to keep up on the latest.
The stock system has improved in a lot of ways; but it's still a pale comparison to the B/W.
I'd go base + air over H/K upgrade if it were up to me. Can always upgrade the base via third-party speaker upgrades.
 

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Maybe it's different on the XC90, but going from one V90cc with the HK system and getting into another V90cc with B&W with the "sound stage" set-up the same, and the equalizers the same (or as similar as possible since they're different), and the song the same...the sound difference was negligible.

I guess if you listen to CDs or rip everything to a USB the B&W has an edge. Or if you're listening to a lot of high pitch vocal songs that lend themselves to the Concert Hall setting of the B&W system.

But if you're driving on the highway and listening to Sirius/XM or streaming audio, I think you'd be hard pressed to think there's a $4k difference.
I disagree with everything you've said.
 

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Maybe it's different on the XC90, but going from one V90cc with the HK system and getting into another V90cc with B&W with the "sound stage" set-up the same, and the equalizers the same (or as similar as possible since they're different), and the song the same...the sound difference was negligible.

I guess if you listen to CDs or rip everything to a USB the B&W has an edge. Or if you're listening to a lot of high pitch vocal songs that lend themselves to the Concert Hall setting of the B&W system.

But if you're driving on the highway and listening to Sirius/XM or streaming audio, I think you'd be hard pressed to think there's a $4k difference.
Note that just because you can’t distinguish the difference doesn’t mean its not there. And just because you can’t make that distinction doesn’t mean that it is not obvious.

I was in the audio business for a couple of decades and what is obvious and indispensable for one person is indistinguishable to another. Thats why many stores carried high end gear and also carried “swill”.

I mean no disrespect by saying this but the differences in quality between audio systems is indeed objectively dramatic, apparently though you can’t hear it. Can you hear the difference between Sirius and streaming? If not, another difference that is obvious as day and night for me, you simply do not have the ability, or desire, to hear the difference. I am quite certain that there are things that you can distinguish far better than me; perhaps differences in coffee, or whiskey, dance, a cars ability to handle, etc, so I am not trying to be insulting. Just making the point that the difference between the B&W and the upgraded HK system is indeed large. Of course it’s up to the individual to decide if its worth the dollars, that’s a “horse of a different color”.


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Note that just because you can’t distinguish the difference doesn’t mean its not there. And just because you can’t make that distinction doesn’t mean that it is not obvious.

I was in the audio business for a couple of decades and what is obvious and indispensable for one person is indistinguishable to another. Thats why many stores carried high end gear and also calories “swill”.

I mean no disrespect by saying this but the differences in quality between audio systems is indeed objectively dramatic, apparently though you can’t hear it. Can you hear the difference between Sirius and streaming? If not, another difference that is obvious as day and night for me, you simply do not have the ability, or desire, to hear the difference. I am quite certain that there are things that you can distinguish far better than me; perhaps differences in coffee, or whiskey, dance, a cars ability to handle, etc, so I am not trying to be insulting. Just making the point that the difference between the B&W and the upgraded HK system is indeed large. Of course it’s up to the individual to decide if its worth the dollars, that’s a “horse of a different color”.


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Of course I'm speaking from my own experience. I'm not you.

That said, what proportion of buyers do you think share your ear and specialty? I didn't say that the B&W isn't better, it is. And you can, and should enjoy that difference.

I enjoy quality sound/music, but sure, I wouldn't class myself as some audiophile. I'd say most buyers are probably in the same boat, and would not benefit from or realize $4k worth of value in the difference. That's true for MANY things, wine is a great example.

I don't understand why people find it an affront to their personal being to say, "hey, I went from one car to another, side by side, with everything set as similar as possible, and the difference didn't seem that substantial. Or at least not $4k substantial...to me".
 

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Of course I'm speaking from my own experience. I'm not you.

That said, what proportion of buyers do you think share your ear and specialty? I didn't say that the B&W isn't better, it is. And you can, and should enjoy that difference.

I enjoy quality sound/music, but sure, I wouldn't class myself as some audiophile. I'd say most buyers are probably in the same boat, and would not benefit from or realize $4k worth of value in the difference. That's true for MANY things, wine is a great example.

I don't understand why people find it an affront to their personal being to say, "hey, I went from one car to another, side by side, with everything set as similar as possible, and the difference didn't seem that substantial. Or at least not $4k substantial...to me".
My issue with your post is when you say that the difference is “negligible” and it is not. It’s not even close to being “negligible”. I just don’t want readers to be misinformed.

And just for the record, I’ve stated on several occasions that I think the upgraded HK system is good enough for most people, but it is not in the same league as the B&W system. In support for my position I offer that all objective reviews I’ve read on the system by independent audio reviewers have acknowledged that it is indeed one of the top factory car audio systems in the world. I don’t think you’ll hear anyone saying that about the standard or upgraded HK system. As a reminder, I have both, the B&W in my XC90 and the HK in my new 2019 S60. So I am not insulted, just trying to provide accurate information to this forum.


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I think you guys are right, "beauty is in the ear/mind of the beholder". Maybe some folks can't physically hear or perceive the difference or value it - too "bad" for them (but they save some dinero) - and "good" for us who can appreciate what we think is another beautiful thing (minus $4k) in this journey of life . . .
 

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I have both, B&W on a 2016 XC90 and HK on a 2019 XC90. The HK sounds really good, so much so that it presents the question, do I really need the B&W. Its good, however the B&W is completely better in every sense of audio.

I think most people will be happy with the HK. But if you can spare the cash, go with the B&W.


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