Mark Levinson Subwoofer Sound Quality at louder volumes
I have mostly been driving my IS-F with the radio off since the engine sound is so awesome, but today I was listening to the radio and the song "Yeah" by Usher (feat Lil Jon) came on and it's got some incredibly deep bass, so I turned the volume up to see how it sounded.
It was clear till about 39 or 40 on the volume, and at that point when the bass hit the subwoofer made more of a 'hit-splat-reverb' noise instead of actually hitting the note. I opened the trunk and heard and felt a lot of air coming from the vent/holes in the decklid, and when I closed the trunk and got back in the car it didn't sound any better.
So - is the speaker blown? Does the ML audio cut power at a certain level? The overall volume really didn't seem that loud, but I don't really have a frame of reference with this system.
Any thoughts would be appreciated, or if any of you have that song and wouldn't mind replicating it, does your bass start to cut out/sound distorted at that volume?
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It sounds fine with other songs, but I don't usually listen to music with a lot of bass. That one just seemed to hit really hard at lower volumes, but by 40 it was sounding pretty weak. Any idea how big the sub is in our cars?
I don't think 40 is even that loud, to be honest, and I'm coming from a less-than-stellar Bose system in the RS 4. I was expecting to be shocked with all those speakers in the car...what do we have, 14 or something?
I asked around at work and it seems the lack of travel (space, depth) of the subwoofer is likely the culprit here; it just can't handle crappy music with lots of bass
I have had the same problem. I only really noticed it with songs that have deep bass and still only certain songs. I took it to the dealer about 10,000 miles ago with this issue and they checked it and said that it was not blown. Recentlly I have been driving around and noticed it a lot more. Also, its only really noticeable when im listening to music from my iPod. When it is a CD or radio, that problem is not there. Im thinking maybe my iPod is putting out to much bass that the system cant handle (dont even know if thats possible) or something else...
Actually, took my car in for my 35k service today and they gave me a loaner IS250. I put my iPod in there and the bass sounds fine even at loud volumes and thats a regular lexus sound system. I am definitely bringing up the complain again.
I think what the OP was asking about is over-excursion of the subwoofer or a popping noise that translates to heat across the voice coil.
Most speakers have a limited travel range and when you exceed that, the wave "clips" and this is where heat will kill your speaker voice coil VERY FAST! I'm a home audiophile by trade and got into car audio in the mid 90's (*yes I'm older...)
Anyways compared to other OEM systems few can hold a candle to the Mark Levinson system except maybe the Audi S8's BW system.
I've been doing some research to find a replacement and there are two ways to tackle this and unfortunately both are not cheap solutions:
a) Buy a JL Audio Clean Sweet or Audison Bit.1 to convert the signal coming from the stock deck to a clean signal. From there you can pick any quality aftermarket amplifier such as the JL HD series and a new aftermarket subwoofer. The costs don't stop there since you need to build a new enclosure for the sub as well.
b) Dis-connect the oem subwoofer and add a line out converter to use a aftermarket amplifier with a box/woofer combo in the trunk. This method is less money but will eat up some trunk space for sure.
I've given some thought into doing a FULL stereo replacement like I'm doing to my s2000 but the costs would easily exceed $10k after all the fabrication I would want to do so just not feasible for a daily driver. The OEM Lexus setup is more than adequate for me, must have to defeat the stupid NAVI bypass one of these days
I don't like the ML either. The regular Lexus sound system is way better. I have to turn off my mid volume (-5) just to get richer bass. Plus, I'll fade the sound to the rear about half way. With this configuration, I usually run my volume at 30 for FM radio and 40 for XM radio at highway speeds. I'll even crank it to 50 on XM when a good song comes on.