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Upgrades to "Premium" sound

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Old 07-03-14, 10:21 AM   #1
mrphelps01
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Default Upgrades to "Premium" sound

I've been looking (for quite some time) at purchasing a GS 450h. One of the major drawbacks for me is the premium/non Mark Levinson stereo system. I'm definitely fussy about sound. I don't like the luxury package, and finding a non-lux GS 450h with ML is damn near impossible, at least on the east coast.

What I found during extensive listening to the stock system was that it sounded pretty good at low to low-moderate volumes, but as soon as I turned it up, I heard a good deal of distortion, particularly in the mids. I also found that for the system to sound half way decent, I had to have it in surround sound, which is contrary to how I typically like to listen to music in my current and previous car (both of which have/had excellent stereos by the way). Finally, I also found that there seemed to be enough bass for me--mid-bass anyway, which is what I like. (Think Paul McCartney Beatles bass.)

So I'm wondering if, for me, improving the system would only involve as little as getting a different, more powerful amp (maybe a JL Audio with about 900 watts). Any thoughts?
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Old 07-03-14, 10:47 AM   #2
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There are some new 2013's listed on AutoTrader but you might have to travel some. Looks like they are getting rarer and rarer. Great car, hope you find one!!
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Old 07-03-14, 01:50 PM   #3
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Think about getting an JBL MS8 and aftermarket Amps. 8 channels should cover the front stage. If you are adding subs, you'll need to delay the front stage a smudge or until the rear base aligns. You might want to upgrade the oem speakes too. There are nice components coming out or already out.

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Old 07-03-14, 06:15 PM   #4
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I have been reading a number of threads on the ML stereo. I have this in my LS3460 and have really liked it. I don't think it is the best in the world but it sounds great to me. I am looking for a GS350 now. It is really hard to find one with the ML stereo. I wonder why more aren't out there. I want to get a used one and am primarily looking at 2013 models.

With them being so hard to find I have started thinking about getting the premium system and upgrading. I talked to a good automotive stereo shop and they said that it would be 2000 to 3000 to replace the subwoofers and the speakers and add an amp. That is more than I want to spend so I am trying to decide what it will take to upgrade the premium system to be acceptable (I know that is really subjective). What would you all recommend to be the basic upgrade for better sound? I mostly listen to rock and oldies (Beatles, James Taylor, etc.). I do like to crank it up loud on led zeppelin or similar and want it to be a clean sound when cranked up.

Of course, if I find a ML model, I will go for that.
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Old 07-03-14, 07:58 PM   #5
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To me, all the premium stereo needs is an added subwoofer. The lower frequencies are really weak and is actually not even audible in some songs.. The midrange, treble, detail, and loudness are fine.
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Old 07-03-14, 09:33 PM   #6
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What's the best settings u guys use to get the best out of the stock premium system?

I am using Bluetooth streaming for my music, will plugging in my iPhone directly to the USB increase the sound quality?
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Old 07-04-14, 09:05 AM   #7
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Digital music quality off of an iPod or iPhone is dependent upon the compression you used when downloading the original uncompressed media. To get decent digital media quality I believe you have to use around 256K compression...anything less can cause noticeable deterioration. The upside to high compression is space saving on your device...the downside is loss of audio quality. In an auto it's buyers choice.....I'm usually listening to the music but not "dialed in" like in a home.....Streaming wireless or with the cord should not make any difference....its all dependent on your compression.....Want good sound....install a turntable in your car and buy some vinyl....lol....
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Old 07-04-14, 10:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItzFilyO View Post
What's the best settings u guys use to get the best out of the stock premium system?

I am using Bluetooth streaming for my music, will plugging in my iPhone directly to the USB increase the sound quality?
I think I have bass 3 notches before max, treble/mid flat, surround on, dsp off, and ipod eq on rock. Never tried bluetooth
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Old 07-04-14, 12:14 PM   #9
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So the question I need to research is: if the ML stereo is a 1500.00 add to a new car, and I can't find one with this option, then will 1500.00 used to add a better amp and subwoofer give me an equal system or will I need to start changing other speakers as well. I should note that I don't have any interest in playing dvd's on the system. I will be playing cd's and digital music, mostly rock.
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Old 07-04-14, 01:46 PM   #11
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Thanks for the information! It really helps.
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Old 07-04-14, 07:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexRuger View Post
I think I have bass 3 notches before max, treble/mid flat, surround on, dsp off, and ipod eq on rock. Never tried bluetooth
Does the DSP make a difference when it's on or off? Cause I couldn't tell the difference.
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Old 07-05-14, 10:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItzFilyO View Post
Does the DSP make a difference when it's on or off? Cause I couldn't tell the difference.
When I had my ES with the premium stereo, I noticed it made the door speakers distort a bit at high volumes. Haven't really tested on the GS but I just keep it off to make sure I get the best sound.
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Old 07-05-14, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexRuger View Post
When I had my ES with the premium stereo, I noticed it made the door speakers distort a bit at high volumes. Haven't really tested on the GS but I just keep it off to make sure I get the best sound.
I see. Alright, thanks! I'm gonna try this setting on mine and see how it sounds.
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Old 07-05-14, 02:06 PM   #15
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To original poster....you can always special order a Gsh from Japan that way you can pick and choose which options you want and dont. I had my 2014GS350 in for service and got another GS350 for loan and I can tell you that the mark levingson in my Gs sounded way cleaner than the premium audio in the Gs loaner. I have no regreats getting a Gs with Mark Levingson
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Old 07-05-14, 02:06 PM
 
 
 
 
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