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Old 01-02-14, 07:07 PM   #31
RickC5
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From the sounds of things, some posters on this thread may agree with my opinion, others perhaps not, but I firmly believe that the reduction in the quality of automotive sound systems is an industry trend, and not limited to any single manufacturer.

I think there are multiple reasons for this. 1) Simple cost cutting. If customers don't throw tantrums/hissy fits--and demand better sound systems--it will continue. It's the nature of the industry. 2) Home systems are not as popular/plentiful as they used to be, and most of them just sound crappy, especially if all you have is some sort of surround sound system for your TV. 3) Lots of younger folks have never heard a great sound system played at high volume. Hey, they just listen to their iPod or whatever with ear buds. So, they're pretty pleased with the junky sound systems in most cars. They've apparently never heard a really good sound system.

Real audiophiles are few & far between. Even my old ears now need hearing aids (too much loud stereo years ago?) and lots of car systems sound OK to me. It sucks to get old. However, I do wish our 2010's 9-speaker system sounded as good as the Mark Levinson in our old 2008 GX470. That thing rocked! Oh well.....

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Old 01-09-14, 07:58 AM   #32
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Yuribud, I couldn't agree more about the RX300 sound system. My 2000 model apparently had the same system as your '99 model, and I absolutely worship that thing. My wife is wanting to trade it in because too many parts are starting to fail (and they're all expensive), but I'm trying to talk her out of it because I don't want to lose that stereo. From everything I've read, it's questionalble as to whether I would be happy with any other sound system that Lexus is putting in their vehicles. It's just sad that the people at Lexus apparently just don't care for quality music and put no priority on it.
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Old 01-09-14, 03:57 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by joebobjone View Post
It's just sad that the people at Lexus apparently just don't care for quality music and put no priority on it.
When the bean counters are calling all the shots, quality music systems, adequate sound deadening and a multitude of minor bells & whistles always get the short shrift, as they can be "reduced" or cheapened--meaning less cost and therefore MORE profit--without affecting the reliability or driveability of the vehicle, without most buyers ever noticing the difference. There it is.
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Old 01-10-14, 07:55 AM   #34
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I don't know what the complaints are about. The 12-speaker sound system in the '13RX is top notch. That was a pleasant surprise. I also had a '14 IS loaner recently, and its sound system (non-ML) was phenomenal. IMHO, Lexus finally learned how to build audio systems. Maybe it's the change to Pioneer hardware.
The original premium audio in my IS300 was absolutely nothing to rave about. I replace everything, down to the wire, as soon as I got it back in '03.
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Old 01-10-14, 07:57 AM   #35
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When the bean counters are calling all the shots, quality music systems, adequate sound deadening and a multitude of minor bells & whistles always get the short shrift, as they can be "reduced" or cheapened--meaning less cost and therefore MORE profit--without affecting the reliability or driveability of the vehicle, without most buyers ever noticing the difference. There it is.
I just purchased a 2011 CPO rx350, coming out of a 2005 rx330. The sound of the 2005 system was pretty terrible. I had tried to upgrade the system with new speakers and Alpine amplifiers and a subwoofer but the signal from the head unit was not great, although the powered woofer helped a lot. I have the premium system in the new rx and I don't think that it is actually that bad. The upper mids and treble are actually decent with the drivers being near ear level. I have 60 year old ears that have been abused by 20 too many Grateful Dead shows and I find I don't need to crank the treble control to get decent high end. Where the system is lacking significantly is in the bass region where there probably isn't any output below 50 cycles or even higher. I added a powered 10 inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the cargo area and that improves the sound greatly. The woofer cost $180 and an installer wired it off the cargo area subwoofer speaker terminals for $100. It does take a while to get the woofer adjusted properly as most people set them way too high. The bass is always going to be the hardest thing to right in a car in that it uses most of the amplifiers power and the manufacturers doon't want to spend the money or give up the space to proper bass reproduction. Even in home systems, it's the most expensive and hardest thing to get right. You would be amazed how much of a difference real bass in a car makes to your satisfaction with the system, opens up the sound top to bottom. I've spent $8,000 on car audio systems and adding bass to the rx helps a lot. As an aside, there are some companies that do offer some phenominal systems, much better than the Lexus "Levinson" systems. The B&O in an Audi I heard was great. I've heard some great BMW systems. Thanks. Regards. Ned.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:03 AM   #36
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I don't know what the complaints are about. The 12-speaker sound system in the '13RX is top notch. That was a pleasant surprise. I also had a '14 IS loaner recently, and its sound system (non-ML) was phenomenal. IMHO, Lexus finally learned how to build audio systems. Maybe it's the change to Pioneer hardware.
The original premium audio in my IS300 was absolutely nothing to rave about. I replace everything, down to the wire, as soon as I got it back in '03.
Top notch it isn't. It's pretty good with very limited bass capabilities. There are some great car systems out there, this one is ok. Thanks. Regards. Ned.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:10 AM   #37
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I like the sound system on my 2012 RX. I think it sounds better than the base stereos of Audi and BMW.
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Old 01-10-14, 09:50 AM   #38
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I like the sound system on my 2012 RX. I think it sounds better than the base stereos of Audi and BMW.
The Giants need a lot of help. As a fan, I was willing to write of the year at 0-6, hoping we finished 3-13 or there abouts in order to get better draft picks in all rounds. Damn them for winning all those games!! I've only heard the more premium systems in those vehicles. The B&O system in the Audi was very impressive. I once put an after market system in my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee for about $3,000 with Alpine amps and head unit, Focal speakers and an Alumapro subwoofer that was truely amazing, the sound of a $25,000 home audio system with better bass!! It just worked, it was magic, sometimes you just luck out with a system that works with the acoustical space. If you haven't heard trulely great car audio(or home audio for that matter), you would never know what you are missing. As I said the rx system is more than adequate, it just has no low bass or bass impact. It is very hard to fool mother nature with bass, you need lots of power with high current and large drivers and big enclosures. My wife's 2011 Acura MDX has a much better sound system(and a hard drive recorder!!). Thanks. Regards. Ned.
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Old 08-02-14, 03:38 PM   #39
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Default Wife Just ordered a 2015 IS350 with ML

I sat in a 2014 IS350 today with a base stereo and listened to a sample of songs from my CDs. I wanted to compare the stereo to the one in my wife's 2000 RX300. While it was a good system, the base and percussion just couldn't match the RX. It was too mushy. I was so disappointed I wanted to cry, because the day has finally come that my wife needs to trade in the RX and I'm heartbroken to lose that stereo. They didn't have any IS350s with a Mark Levinson for me to listen to, but they did have a GS450 with one. I sat in the GS for an hour by myself, tweeking the settings and listening to my CDs. It's a very good system, very comparable to the one in the RX, but I think even the ML is not quite as sharp on the percussion notes as the RX. But at least it's very comparable and I think I'll be happy with it, so we ordered a 2015 IS350 with an ML.

The stereo in the '99/'00 RX must be one in a million because I've never heard another car stereo that can match it, especially with the subwoofer. The guy that designed that sound system must have truly been a genius. It seems incomprehensible that a standard RX factory stereo could match or exceed a high end premium system like the ML, but I heard what I heard.

While I'll probably always feel like I'm missing just a little percussion sharpness with the new ML system, at least I don't think I'll cry when I have to give up the RX. The ML really is very very good. But man, how did they make that old Pioneer in the 2000 RX sound so perfect? I'd love to know.
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Old 08-04-14, 06:16 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by joebobjone View Post
I sat in a 2014 IS350 today with a base stereo and listened to a sample of songs from my CDs. I wanted to compare the stereo to the one in my wife's 2000 RX300. While it was a good system, the base and percussion just couldn't match the RX. It was too mushy. I was so disappointed I wanted to cry, because the day has finally come that my wife needs to trade in the RX and I'm heartbroken to lose that stereo. They didn't have any IS350s with a Mark Levinson for me to listen to, but they did have a GS450 with one. I sat in the GS for an hour by myself, tweeking the settings and listening to my CDs. It's a very good system, very comparable to the one in the RX, but I think even the ML is not quite as sharp on the percussion notes as the RX. But at least it's very comparable and I think I'll be happy with it, so we ordered a 2015 IS350 with an ML.

The stereo in the '99/'00 RX must be one in a million because I've never heard another car stereo that can match it, especially with the subwoofer. The guy that designed that sound system must have truly been a genius. It seems incomprehensible that a standard RX factory stereo could match or exceed a high end premium system like the ML, but I heard what I heard.

While I'll probably always feel like I'm missing just a little percussion sharpness with the new ML system, at least I don't think I'll cry when I have to give up the RX. The ML really is very very good. But man, how did they make that old Pioneer in the 2000 RX sound so perfect? I'd love to know.
I was hating my 2007 rx350 stereo system to the point I almost stopped listening to the radio. I always had it on in the 'All' position mode which I assumed was the right mode to get even sound in the cabin. Then by chance I clicked on the 'Driver' mode and could not believe it. The sound became close to my former beloved RX300 '99. Does not quite make sense. It should be the other way around. But I drive mostly by myself, so really it does not bother me if the passengers don't hear the same. May be they don't know the sound difference anyway.
But, yes, I agree. I completely don't get it. What was the reason to kill their own system they had in rx300? It was a brilliant idea with subwoofer. It was simple user interface without all those modes and fancy features. But it did the job. It produced wonderful sound which I did not hear in any other car so far and I've been in a lot of them.
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Old 08-06-14, 11:21 AM   #41
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Playing with the treble, midrange and bass controls can make a big difference. As can fading the stage area more to the front. I found cranking up the midrange provided a lot of improvement.
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Old 08-06-14, 04:52 PM   #42
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My '13 RX sound good. just good and nothing wow or special. I never experienced any "wow I never heard that note before" moments like I would in some better systems.
I wanted but couldn't find a f-sport model with ML.

As far as Lexus sound is concerned, I think they should fire the person in charge of the sound system. That person clearly has no ears for music at all!
Lexus are you listening?
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Old 09-10-14, 09:29 AM   #43
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i have a 2013 with premium speakers ( 12)
and i added this ( professionally installed)




plus a




the difference is night and day!
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Old 09-10-14, 09:34 AM   #44
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it's only day 2 of the installation of the subwoofer and amplifier.
my problem is getting the right mix for treble mid and bass

the crapiness of XM hits 1 is also " amplified"
the CD and high bit rate mp3s sound excellent
even Pandora sounds far better than XM stations

So what's your current set up for the treble mid and bass. btw, i'm no audiophile
the subwoofer has it's own rotary dial and i have it at 1/4

here's mine

Before/STOCK
TREBLE +2
MID 0
BASS +1

With Subwoofer/amplifier

TREBLE +2
MID +1
BASS -1 to -3
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Old 09-10-14, 11:36 AM   #45
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markrivers,
Nice! Does the new subwoofer fit in the old one's location? Where does the amp reside?
I'm interested in doing that too but would hate to lose any spaces in the trunk.
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