Yeah, I've finally had it with my gas guzzling Scooby Doo. Loving this CT200h!
After some success with installing the paint film myself, I thought I give the audio a shot. Instead of doing it myself, I succumbed to confusion and finally solicited some professional help. Now my previous experience to upgrades of any vehicle in our family has been nothing more than changing floor mats or buying a new set of tires at Costco so bear with me if I sound amateurish. And for the record, I thought my factory stereo in an old Subaru Forester XT sounded great. Iím not picky. Oddly enough, my experience with home audio is a bit more extensive. Current products at home include Anthem, Emotiva, Bryston, M&K, B &W, Revel and Velodyne. There are bits and pieces of Klipsch, Onkyo, Sherwood, and so forth. Home audio and video is a topic I could go on and on.
This whole process started because I thought the plain audio system that comes with the CT200h basic model just plain sucks. For starters, the left speaker was slightly muffled ( off by 3db) and was replaced by the dealership. Even though the balance was restored, the entire audio system sounded shrilled without any soundstage. I wasnít too concerned about the bass as there wasnít any. Iíve heard the premium audio and it wasnít much improved. Again, Iím not trying to be picky but there was just something missing.
There 6 speaker system was replaced along with the head unit. A 5 channel amplifier and subwoofer was added. The internal speaker wiring was upgraded to 14 gauge with 12 for the subwoofer. What was there before looked like 20 or 22 gauge. It was pretty thin.
Hereís the list:
Alpine INE-S920HD receiver
Alpine SPR 60C component drivers for the front dash and doors
Alpine SPR 60 coaxial drivers for the rear doors
Alpine MRX V70 5 channel 60 watts (4ohm) x 4 and 350watt ( 2 ohm) x1
JL Audio CP108LGW3V3 subwoofer 8 inch
Sony XA-R800C rear view camera
Metra Axxess ASWC steering wheel control interface
Toyota TWH-950 harness
Metra 40-LX11 Antenna adapter
Various cables, wires, and amp kit
Hereís a few notes:
1. Head Unit - Iíve was going to initially go with a Pioneer or Kenwood. The way the CT200h console is shaped, there will be some difficulty with any dual din unit that has a raised or removable face. The high end Kenwood would suffice, but you have to be careful not to go greater than a 6 -6.5 inch screen. Any single din unit would be fine.
The S920HD has navigation that uses Navteq maps. It reminds me of a Garmin product. I really didnít want any Nav so I canít comment on how useful it is. The Bluetooth works flawlessly. Iíve included pics of the microphone installed just above the rear view mirrior. The real gem of the Alpine unit is the Time Correction and the Parametric equalizer. I learned from another forum how to adjust the Time Correction and pinpoint the soundstage to the driver seat. With a DVD Essentials ( or an AVIA dvd) and a digital SPL meter, I was able to have a fairly flat frequency response at the driver seat. Holy crap, the sound is pretty amazing.
2. Amplifier Ė There was a toss-up between the Alpine versus the JL Audio equivalent. The Alpine seems to fit better under the front passenger seat. For a moment, the amplifier was to be installed in the rear inside the Styrofoam tray but I was concerned about the heat dissipation. The amp has plenty of crossover settings. I kept them fairly open so I can fine-tuned it via the head unit.
3. Speakers Ė There were three choices: Focal, Morel, or Alpine. I got great deals on the Morel, ditto on Alpine. Focal stayed full price. The Alpine Type R speakers were of pretty thin profile. Theyíre actually 6 ĺ inch but can fit into a 6 Ĺ inch. The CT200h has 6.5 x 9 inch profile speakers. The magnets on the Alpine ďfeltĒ at least 3-4x as heavy as the factor speakers. I wished I had a photo before they were installed.
4. Subwoofer Ė There was a earlier option to go with an Alpine swr 823D 8 inch sub and a custom enclosure. I was actually able to compare this and the JL Audio CPL108 W3 in roughly same volume boxes and I thought the JL Audio had tighter bass. Oddly enough, the JL Audio box fits perferctly right under the metal cargo bar. Iíve enclosed a picture of a mod to the subwoofer that when the left rear seat is back in upright position will secure the speaker. There is almost no loss of any cargo space in the trunk of the car and the subwoofer is very easy to remove when needed.
5. Rear View Camera Ė The Sony CCD unit is very clear and with great sensitivity at night. I like the colors. I find the rear view camera idea novel and not very useful personally. Wife canít live without hers in her car.
6. Speaker Wires Ė The factory wiring was so thin I almost fainted. Upgrade to 16 gauge at minimum. 14 or 12 gauge is best. Brand doesnít matter as long as there is sufficient shielding material.
7. Steering Wheel Access Control Ė There are two choices. The Metra Axxess ASWC or the Pac Audio SWI-RC. The Metra has a better chance of success of being programmed. Both companies say they do not have any controls that will work with the CT200h. Everything would be experimental. If Iím not mistaken, the steering wheel controls go to some other controller/chip and then routes to the factory receiver unit. Itís a bit different than the other Lexus or Toyotas. Iím too busy this month, but might decide to splice into the wiring and give it a shot later. In the meantime, Iíve resorted to an Alpine remote control so I donít have to take my eyes off the road. Itís simple and it works.
Not that anyone is asking, but hope this info helps out. This is my first post here so go easy if thereís some inaccuracies. I cross posted this in the CT200hforum as well.
(whoa, i didn't know there's a limit of 5 pics to upload. oh well.)