All things modern.
The following is a short review of the Premium Sound System that comes with the KA2 Titanium.
The system consist of a head unit mounted high in the dashboard centre console, a USB port located at the bottom of the console, steering wheel mounted controls and 7 speakers (2 x 38mm tweeters located in the A-pillars, 2 x 165mm mid-woofers located in the front doors, 2 x 130 mm full-range speakers located in the rear side-panels and 1 x bass box with a driver of unknown size located under the right-side front seat, driver side for uk models).
The head unit plays FM radio, AM radio, MW radio, LW radio, CDs, MP3-CDs and features traffic alerts and emergency broadcasts. It can also play MP3s loaded onto a mass storage device and plugged into the USB port. There is no aux-input in models that have a USB port which is a bit of a shame. Additional features are Soft mute, loudness function and 7-band graphic equaliser with pre-sets. There is a full dot matrix display on the front.
The picture below shows a close up of the head unit.
One drawback of the head unit is that the buttons are extremely difficult to press. They are very closely spaced, very stiff and have a very long travel. This makes it very difficult to press keys without pressing the ones next to it. This is especially true of the direction keys. They really need to be poked with a nail however this will eventually lead to the wearing away of the labels. Fortunately once the initial setup is done there is little reason to touch any of the buttons in normal use.
At times the operation of the unit can be a bit tricky. Sometimes trying to put on a track from the usb stick puts everything on pause, or puts on the radio. Preset stations randomly totally disappear and then reappear later on. This may be quirks in the software or it may be just me having to get used to the operations. A well designed interface should not require this long acquaintance period.
The unit can also be controlled by voice to skip tracks or even search for tracks off the USB drive. However one wonders why this would be easier than just pressing the skip key either on the radio or the steerg wheel. They are many commands but I have not mastered anything but ‘next’, ‘back’ and ‘folders’. From there the thumbs take over.
The figures below show the steering wheel mounted controls in much more details than can be described in words. I am still trying to get to grips with the need to push the buttons with my thumb and not pull them forward from behind. This is something that just takes getting used to I suppose. To me it feels like quite a stretch for a thumb to reach all the way towards the centre of the wheel. They do feel good however, with a firm positive press. They also feel pretty strong and I don’t feel like I’m going to break them by pressing too hard.
The other thing I need to get used to is that because they are attached to the steering wheel, they you cannot adjust anything while turning, but this I true for any of these controls except probably the Citroen C4 Picasso. Finally, they are nicely backlit in orange for night use.
The pillar mounted tweeters are shown below.
These really do raise the sound-field in the cockpit and makes up for the very low mounted front door speakers, shown below:
The rear speakers are a bit smaller, which is just as well as any back seat passengers will be sitting RIGHT next to them:
The sub-woofer is located under the drivers seats on UK models. The first time you see it under the front of the seat you wonder if it’s some kind of joke being so small, but look to the back and you realise that it is quite substantial. The driver is located to the top of the box and there is a port facing forward. This arrangement serves to give the driver’s bottom a good vibrating and enhances the feeling of big bass.
Here is a view with the seat pushed all the way back clearly showing the forward facing port.
This view is taken from the back and shows the size of the unit. The specs say that it features a built-in 100W amplifier. While the size of the unit made me doubt this at first, it really does sound heavy. This is a great piece of kit and cant wait to get my self another to fit under the passenger seat!
The following picture is of the USB port loaded with my Kingston flash drive loaded with MP3s. The USB port in the cigarette lighter did not come with the car but is my own that I used to charge my mobile phone.
In summary, the Premium Sound System does indeed sound premium. It is really very loud, balanced and full of big bass. The sound is adjustable with presets as well as a 7-band graphic equaliser so you can tailor it to your individual tastes. Integration with the wheel controls and the in-dash display is seamless and a pleasure to use.
The only drawbacks to the system are the difficult knobs on the head unit and the lack of an auxiliary port for line-in. So long as you don’t try to use the buttons on the head unit, you should be pleased.
Finally here is a short review of the information displayed on the dashboard display: