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Dispatches from Denali: Here’s Why Our GMC Acadia Had No EQ Presets

Sections: Car Audio, Infotainment

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The 2013 GMC Acadia Denali's Tone Settings Screen

This is the “Tone Settings” screen in the 2013 GMC Acadia Denali, which features presets for only “Talk” and “Manual.” Cheaper GM vehicles like our previously tested Chevrolet Equinox have far more presets than that, so what gives? GMC let us in on their reasoning. (Lyndon Johnson photo.)

We told you we’d check into why our recent GMC Acadia Denali had only two presets in its “Tone Settings” GMC IntelliLink screen. Well, we did, and here’s what we found out:

According to GMC Acadia Product Manager Bruce Mader, our Acadia had no EQ presets in that menu because it was an up-optioned Denali model equipped with the Bose sound system.

“For our up level audio system, we utilize the interior tuning metrics of Bose to produce a premium sound without the need for customer interaction for tone settings,” Mader said.

“On the base, non-amplified radio vehicle…the EQ options you noted are available in the tone settings as the radio is directly powering the speakers.”

The EQ options I had asked about were those available on the smaller (and about $12,000 cheaper) fully loaded Chevrolet Equinox LTZ we had the week prior. In that case, the Equinox’s Pioneer-branded audio system featured a fully customizable EQ via the Chevrolet MyLink screen’s menu, including presets for a number of different genres of listening material, from Rock to Classical and Country. The Acadia offered only a “Talk” preset in addition to the “Manual” preset.

We wondered, if the Acadia Denali’s Bose tuning made EQ presets unnecessary, why did GMC include the “Tone Settings” menu at all? Mader had an answer for that, too:

“Here is the thinking,” he said. “When you listen to talk radio, the bass is less important and actually can make it difficult to understand. The ‘talk’ setting allows the quick removal of a lot of bass for that purpose. Mostly there for the AM listener.

“The manual setting is there,” he added, “because regardless of how well the system is tuned to handle the vast majority of song variations, many users have their own preferences, and they can adjust the sound characteristic accordingly. If we took away that capability, there would no doubt be customers that would find that unacceptable.”

Worth noting: The Acadia Denali’s “Tone Settings” screen included only options to adjust the bass, mid, and treble in addition to fade and balance. In that case, would you rather GMC kept the “Manual” preset, cut the “Tone Settings” screen altogether, or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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