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Am I the only one that thinks the Mark Levinson system in our car sucks?

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Old 02-01-13, 12:28 PM   #61
peteharvey
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Originally Posted by SW10ES View Post
I still miss the Nakamichi system my dad had in his 98 LS.
Getting a bit off the topic, but just out of interest, Nakamichi was particularly famous for its magnetic tape cassette decks in the 70's, 80's and 90's.
My friend owned several Nakamichi tape decks.

Back in 1989, Nakamichi teamed up with Pioneer to produce the hi-fi for the LS400.
However, by 1998, Nakamichi's licence to use the Nelson Pass audio technology for its fabulous tape decks expired, and furthermore the digital age of CD's and DVD's were truly coming of age.

In 98, Nakamichi was bought out by a Hong Kong company, that also owns Akai.
Similarly, Mark Levinson was actually purchased by the big Harman Industries back in 1990.
In the early 2000's, Nakamichi actually went into bankruptcy.
The owner of Nakamichi opened a new audio company.
Lexus switched to Mark Levinson, before Nakamichi actually went down...
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Old 02-01-13, 12:35 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by ShermanMR2 View Post
My favorite system to date is the B&O system in the Audi Q7. This system took my breathe away. I also had a B&O system in my Audi Q5. Un fortunately it was the best part of that SUV so I sold it.
I don't follow audio much these days.
If I remember correctly, in the past 5 years, Bang and Olufsen were one of the leading pioneers of Class D switching digital amplifier technology called ICE or ICET or something like that.
The new Class D's have enormous power like the 1400 Watts that you quote, and are compact and lightweight, and run cool too.
ML probably still uses conventional Class AB amplifier technology.
Most audiophiles still prefer the conventional Class AB type amplifier for its warmer sound.

So with your love for the 1400 Watt B&O system, and the way you say you wish the 4GS had a 7-band equalizer, would you be more interested in pop music and vocal, rather than classical and instrumental music?

If so, have you considered upgrading the Mark Levinson amplifer to a much more powerful 1500 Watt amplifier, bolted to the back of the rear seat backrest, to particularly provide more bass, because bass needs a lot more power?
With conventional pop music, we often have powerful amps and big sub-woofers.
With classical music, people don't buy big amps nor big subs, but classical music needs cleanliness for a clean sound etc.

I am quite sure the 4GS has front tweeters on its dashboard; I will check in the Factory Workshop manual for you.
The tweeter and mid-range should be on the dash in front of the air vents?
The door has the mid-bass midrange-woofer, probably 6.5" too?
If you're really discerning, change the speakers too.

The only thing you'll be missing from the existing head unit is something like a bass boost button, or the 7-band equalizer like you say.
You could get a new head unit, but a lot of aftermarket cutting out of your dashboard etc...

Last edited by peteharvey; 02-01-13 at 12:58 PM..
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Old 02-01-13, 03:47 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by peteharvey View Post
I don't follow audio much these days.
If I remember correctly, in the past 5 years, Bang and Olufsen were one of the leading pioneers of Class D switching digital amplifier technology called ICE or ICET or something like that.
The new Class D's have enormous power like the 1400 Watts that you quote, and are compact and lightweight, and run cool too.
ML probably still uses conventional Class AB amplifier technology.
Most audiophiles still prefer the conventional Class AB type amplifier for its warmer sound.

So with your love for the 1400 Watt B&O system, and the way you say you wish the 4GS had a 7-band equalizer, would you be more interested in pop music and vocal, rather than classical and instrumental music?

If so, have you considered upgrading the Mark Levinson amplifer to a much more powerful 1500 Watt amplifier, bolted to the back of the rear seat backrest, to particularly provide more bass, because bass needs a lot more power?
With conventional pop music, we often have powerful amps and big sub-woofers.
With classical music, people don't buy big amps nor big subs, but classical music needs cleanliness for a clean sound etc.

I am quite sure the 4GS has front tweeters on its dashboard; I will check in the Factory Workshop manual for you.
The tweeter and mid-range should be on the dash in front of the air vents?
The door has the mid-bass midrange-woofer, probably 6.5" too?
If you're really discerning, change the speakers too.

The only thing you'll be missing from the existing head unit is something like a bass boost button, or the 7-band equalizer like you say.
You could get a new head unit, but a lot of aftermarket cutting out of your dashboard etc...
Thanks for the suggestions. I am however not really a bass guy. If there is bass I like to be tight and clean. Tweeters are very very directional. This is the reason why and I believe they should have been put on the doors.
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Old 02-01-13, 03:54 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by modthispny View Post
while the tweeter is not on the door, i think it's on the dash. see diagram below
Click the image to open in full size.

also, for audiophiles, EQ has to be flat, so i don't think the lack of EQ is an issue.
I understand this, however if the vehicle isn't tuned right acoustically then you may have certain frequencies that fall short or are over boosted. That's where an EQ would come into play.
Also as people we hear things different from one another so again an EQ would help to a enable someone to curtail the sound environment to their personal liking.
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Old 02-01-13, 04:35 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by peteharvey View Post
Lexus switched to Mark Levinson, before Nakamichi actually went down...
Yeah nowadays don't you find like $15 Nakamichi headphones and things like that?

I remember back in the 90s Nakamichi was a big deal...
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Old 02-01-13, 08:14 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by ShermanMR2 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I am however not really a bass guy. If there is bass I like to be tight and clean. Tweeters are very very directional. This is the reason why and I believe they should have been put on the doors.
You could try asking the aftermarket techo's to put a pair of two or three way speakers in, with the tweeters mounted on the inside of the wing mirrors; the techos can re-wire it for you with the cross-over circuitry etc.
I don't know why they don't mount them on the wing mirrors anymore; they did mount them on the inside of the wing mirrors in my 1999 ES300.

Back in 1994, I had an Accord 2.2 with SOHC VTEC.
I replaced the front two way speakers with Pioneer tweeters on top of the dash, Pioneer 6.5" bass on the doors, and Pioneer 6"x9" two-way speakers on the rear parcel shelf.
I was too lazy to change the Honda Accord head unit @ 20 Watts x 4 channels [sourced from Alpine], with a more powerful head unit; however just replacing the speakers gave a lot more ooomph, power and clarity.
Before the speaker change, it was very muddy...
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Old 02-01-13, 08:21 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by SW10ES View Post
Yeah nowadays don't you find like $15 Nakamichi headphones and things like that?

I remember back in the 90s Nakamichi was a big deal...
Yeah, back in those days, Nakamichi was one of the top players.
I'm not sure why they do $15 headphones these days.
Maybe it has something to do with the Hong Kong owner, who also purchased Akai and Sansui.
I have headphones, but they are Sennheiser HD700's.

Even Mark Levinson was purchased by Harman Industries.
In those days, lots of small companies were bought out by bigger companies, eg British Bowers and Wilkins [speakers] bought out both Canadian Classe [amplifiers] and Japanese Rotel [amplifiers], if I'm not wrong.
It's sort of like Nissan and Renault joining, or Peugeot-Citreon joining, or Chrysler and Fiat etc...
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Old 02-02-13, 07:21 AM   #68
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Fwiw, I keep SURROUND off in my ML system for CD and HD radio. Purer better sound.
But I have it ON for satellite radio since the sound is so thin and needs more fullness to it.
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Old 02-07-13, 11:44 PM   #69
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So guys, do you think we can improve the sound by providing a tighter bass with an enclosed speaker? Is the improvement worth the effort?
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Old 02-08-13, 08:52 AM   #70
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Fwiw, I keep SURROUND off in my ML system for CD and HD radio. Purer better sound.
But I have it ON for satellite radio since the sound is so thin and needs more fullness to it.
that makes sense.
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Old 02-08-13, 01:38 PM   #71
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I've heard it before in other models and didn't think it was worth the extra coin. The ML does sound clear it just didn't pack a punch. I won't even comment on the poster who called booming bass artificial. People like what they like and many of us like bass. The ML...nor the base stereo system provide enough punch for me.
For that reason i have added subs and amps to the Lexus cars I've owned.
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Old 02-08-13, 09:30 PM   #72
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I was listening to the stock audio turned up on the way home and thought it sounded awesome.

I suppose ignorance is bliss
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Old 02-08-13, 10:53 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Ice350 View Post
... I won't even comment on the poster who called booming bass artificial...
If we listen to a traditional band play naturally, unassisted by electronic means - like microphones, mixers, amplifiers and speakers, we often [though not always] find that the natural instruments and the natural vocal voices, on their own their own sound different.

These days, most vocal singing and instrumental bands etc, are electronically assisted by microphones, mixers, amplifiers and speakers etc.
It is common practice for the DJ etc to use the graphic equalizer controls to modify the bass and treble etc.
It is also common practice to use the "echo" control in the mixer etc.
There are also fade in and fade out controls etc, so modern electronically assisted music isn't like the natural instruments on their own, say from 200 years ago.

This electronic modification of the sound by mixers, amps etc is nice, and you are right when you say people like it.
Ask a night club to remove their audio electronics, like mics, mixers and amps etc, and it just wouldn't sound the same.
Likewise, ask a band in the night club to use natural instruments only, and vocal only, without any electronic assistance of microphones, mixers, amps and speakers, and the night club would sound significantly different; the night club would sound dead, there would be few customers, and doors would close at 10pm.
Natural instruments and vocal on their own, without electronic assistance, sounds significantly different.

The typical graphic equalizer, bass and treble controls, PS punch sound, bass buttons, even 3-D circuitry, and surround sound modes like: live, hall, pop etc - all modify the playback of recorded sound by electronic means.
That's why some listeners like these modes on, while other listeners prefer to switch them off.
Both are good; it's just horses for courses.
Fundamentally, even the original wav or mp3 footage has been modified electronically prior to and during recording.



Typically, conventional pop music sounds really nice with electronic assistance.
However, classical music is somewhat different; they prefer to play more naturally, unassisted by electronic means.
They often want to reproduce the sound exactly as it was originally produced from the natural instrument.
With classical music, there is not so much emphasis on loudness and bass, but more emphasis on clarity, separation, warmth etc.

True audiophiles will often like the old Class A valve type amplifiers that run very inefficiently, and get very hot as a result, and don't have much power, nor much bass at all, but the sound is cleaner, purer and warmer than the modern day Class AB amplifiers.

Likewise, the OP says he loves the Bang and Olufsen 1400 W system in the A8, which is the very latest Class D type amplifier, which is very efficient, runs cool, is very powerful, and has plenty of bass.
However, true audiophiles will criticize their fidelity, clarity, and coldness etc of the Class D type amplifier, saying that the traditional Class AB type amplifier is better etc.

All three major types of amplifiers are good, but in different ways, and for different types of music...

Last edited by peteharvey; 02-09-13 at 01:06 AM..
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Old 02-09-13, 08:34 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by peteharvey View Post
If we listen to a traditional band play naturally, unassisted by electronic means - like microphones, mixers, amplifiers and speakers, we often [though not always] find that the natural instruments and the natural vocal voices, on their own their own sound different.

These days, most vocal singing and instrumental bands etc, are electronically assisted by microphones, mixers, amplifiers and speakers etc.
It is common practice for the DJ etc to use the graphic equalizer controls to modify the bass and treble etc.
It is also common practice to use the "echo" control in the mixer etc.
There are also fade in and fade out controls etc, so modern electronically assisted music isn't like the natural instruments on their own, say from 200 years ago.

This electronic modification of the sound by mixers, amps etc is nice, and you are right when you say people like it.
Ask a night club to remove their audio electronics, like mics, mixers and amps etc, and it just wouldn't sound the same.
Likewise, ask a band fin the night club to use natural instruments only, and vocal only, without any electronic assistance of microphones, mixers, amps and speakers, and the night club would sound significantly different; the night club would sound dead, there would be few customers, and doors would close at 10pm.
Natural instruments and vocal on their own, without electronic assistance, sounds significantly different.

The typical graphic equalizer, bass and treble controls, PS punch sound, bass buttons, even 3-D circuitry, and surround sound modes like: live, hall, pop etc - all modify the playback of recorded sound by electronic means.
That's why some listeners like these modes on, while other listeners prefer to switch them off.
Both are good; it's just horses for courses.
Fundamentally, even the original wav or mp3 footage has been modified electronically prior to and during recording.



Typically, conventional pop music sounds really nice with electronic assistance.
However, classical music is somewhat different; they prefer to play more naturally, unassisted by electronic means.
They often want to reproduce the sound exactly as it was originally produced from the natural instrument.
With classical music, there is not so much emphasis on loudness and bass, but more emphasis on clarity, separation, warmth etc.

True audiophiles will often like the old Class A valve type amplifiers that run very inefficiently, and get very hot as a result, and don't have much power, nor much bass at all, but the sound is cleaner, purer and warmer than the modern day Class AB amplifiers.

Likewise, the OP says he loves the Bang and Olufsen 1400 W system in the A8, which is the very latest Class D type amplifier, which is very efficient, runs cool, is very powerful, and has plenty of bass.
However, true audiophiles will criticize their fidelity, clarity, and coldness etc of the Class D type amplifier, saying that the traditional Class AB type amplifier is better etc.

All three major types of amplifiers are good, but in different ways, and for different types of music...
Audiophiles also believe in cables sounding different than others, they believe even in burning-in cables, elevating them with some special objects to increase the soundstage, etc... It's quite a complex sociological matter, but many respectable sound engineers performed assisted a/b tests between amplifiers of various design ad price ad they claimed that they could not distinguish them.
I believe that an amp is an amp and if it is build accordingly to basic needs it should sound the same as others build with same criteria. They could measure differently but it could be argued that human ears can detect them. More power should obviously give more headroom before audible distortion kicks in, so that's desirable and mark Levinson has that over the basic gs' system.
I don't know who actually builds the speakers for the GS. they by far influence the sound the most.

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-09-13, 08:21 PM   #75
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i really want to hear the high end B & O in the A6 and A8. the one is the S5 isn't as good as the standalone B & O in the A6 and A8, a member here had an S5 before and said the lexus ML sounds better.
That was me. The B&O system in my S5 Cab was decent. The most disappointing thing was that when the top went down the system sounded weaker rather than stronger. In our G37 Vert the ampification definitely goes up when the top goes down. I would still say the ML in the 4GS is better then the B&O in the A5/S5. I also owned an A5 Coupe, so that is an even better test than the vert.
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Old 02-09-13, 08:21 PM
 
 
 
 
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