Sunday, January 7, 2007

Blaupunkt Bremen MP74 Head Unit

Most people will typically go for the much more popular Alpine or Clarion brands when looking for a replacement high end head unit. After extensive research I decided that I didn't want to go that route. For one thing Alpine's new for 2006 range didn't excite me. Probably won't excite any audiophile buffs to unless you consider the iPod to be an audiophile item. The 9855 on the other hand doesn't have a good record reliability and I really hate Glide Touch. Would love the 9990 F1 but it's above my budget. The Clarion HX-D2 is expensive but whether it's suitable for me SQ wise is an unknown as I can't audition it. This is a common problem faced by Penang ICErs. My advise is to get to know the Penang gang and audition their rides. They're an excellent bunch. The gang can be found here. At that time this was unfortunately not known to me being an ICE virgin. All my experience in audio has been in home audio but any ICEr will tell you ICE and home audio is different. To a certain extent IMHO :)

Luckily I had a few trick up my sleeves. A call to a bro of mine - Anthony Lim from The Star Audiophile and Motoring fame led me to the Blaupunkt Bremen MP74. Anthony's excellent review on the Bremen can be found on the Star Online's Audiophile section. A quick check around the various ICE shops in Penang led me to CT2 in Bayan Baru which gave me an excellent discount on the Bremen besides taking the effort to get a fellow customer and Bremen user to come to the shop to give me an audition. Also gave me a decent trade in for my stock Blaupunkt Sevilla HU as icing on the cake. Thanks guys. You rock!

Installation was a zilch as the Sentra already has the Blaupunkt's wiring harness. I elected not to use the 2nd antenna as that would run across the top of my windscreen. Being nearly 6 feet I find that quite obscurring. Besides I don't listen to radio that much and even with a single antenna I can say that the Bremen will outperform most other HUs radio reception wise. Picture below of the Bremen after installation

Close up of the Bremen. I really dig the looks as I like my HUs simple and elegant. Can't stand the flashy displays and what nots. The Bremen might look basic aesthetically but it's anything but. The faceplate is brushed aluminium. Might not appeal much to the Beng crowd.


So the million dollar question. How does it sound? For one thing I can tell you the Bremen's 27 channel EQ (108 band if you take into account the 4 separate channels) means it's very flexible to different in-car acoustic environments. The auto adjust feature with microphone is also fab and really cuts down the tuning time. The sound of the Bremen is pretty clean and has a tinge of smoothness and warmth without losing the details and clarity. If you're ICE educated on a diet of Alpine HUs the signature is very different from the classic Jap Hi-Fi sound. Personally I find the Bremen more natural compared to let's say a 9855. The soundstage's pretty decent too and the Sub-Out function includes the ability to adjust subwoofer phasing by 45 degree increments to suit how far back you want your bass to be. I did try going active recently via the Bremen's high and lowpass filters but didn't like the sound. While without doubt the Hi-Fi attributes (the imaging was even more precise) were still there I find the music lifeless, emotionless and cold. Going passive is still the way for me.

The downsides? Not much from my experience. I did have the first unit crap out on me after 3 weeks. Sometimes it will not have any sound after turn-on. A quick call to CT2 and they gave me a brand new replacement unit no questions asked. The second unit has been impeccable for the last 4+ months (touch wood). Also the Bremen has several quirks or should I say character. The Mute button is actually the Pause button when you're playing the CD. The display has nice big graphics but by golly the font size used for the track elapse time and clock is way too small. And it's not cheap. The retail is a massive RM4.888K but you should be able to get for a bit below 3K. The face plate also closes too fast. Real hassle if you're like me and like to dilly dally choosing what CDs to hear as by the time you decide the face plate would have closed and you have to press the open/eject button again. Also got the CD stuck once when the faceplate closed when the CD was halfway inserted. Had to yank the CD out causing scratches to it. Bummer!

In summary the Bremen's got all the bells and whistles sonically for it's class and price range. It will take a much much more expensive HU from the likes of Alpine F1, Pioneer P90 series, McIntosh, etc. to outperform it. Unless top of your priority list for your HUs are flashy multi-colour displays and Ipod compatibility I would strongly recommend the Bremen Sound Quality wise.

5 comments:

Kenneth said...

Good Review, pics showing the rear of the HU would be nice !

Andrew Saw said...

Bro,

No rear HU pixs wor. Sorry

Sv said...

hey bro! found ur new blog at last.. had to track u down. didnt post any info bout this on ur old blog eh?

btw, left a msg on ur old blog. think ill post it here.. easier for u.

if you could help me in this issue, it will be greatly appriciated:
im looking to change my coilovers to a full height adjustable one (the one with the adjustable lower bracket) as i feel that i can take my handling tuning to another level. any suggestions? looking back at some posts, i noticed Jack is using sum purple pillowball mounts. are they HKS or D2? what do u think of em both brands?

Andrew Saw said...

Bro,

Try to keep things Sentra related in this blog :)

Jack is using HKS coilovers and pillowball mounts. Per Jack they rock but they're not cheap. I have no experience with D2 so can't comment on them.

I'll be putting up the SP's latest dyno chart in SP Files. How does 160ps At The Wheel sound to you?

Sv said...

left a msg 4 u back at sp's blog. XD