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Old 08-31-13, 11:01 PM   #1
zman78
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Default non ML stereo quality?

I just pulled the trigger yesterday on a lightly used 07 RX350, absolutely love the car so far. Been playing around with all the options today but I'm at a loss with the stereo system and the fact that it has zero base. I read the manual and have the base setting at 5 which is the max. Turning the volume up to 50 the mids and treble are almost too loud at a zero setting but there is absolutely zero base at that volume, no thump at all. Im actually in shock and disbelief my previous car was a mitsu outlander with a stock 6 speaker stereo that kills this in terms of base. What gives? am I doing something wrong with settings or is this just a non base stereo system in need of an upgrade?? Im thinking it could be a fuse maybe?? very puzzled.
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Old 09-01-13, 07:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by zman78 View Post
I just pulled the trigger yesterday on a lightly used 07 RX350, absolutely love the car so far. Been playing around with all the options today but I'm at a loss with the stereo system and the fact that it has zero base. I read the manual and have the base setting at 5 which is the max. Turning the volume up to 50 the mids and treble are almost too loud at a zero setting but there is absolutely zero base at that volume, no thump at all. Im actually in shock and disbelief my previous car was a mitsu outlander with a stock 6 speaker stereo that kills this in terms of base. What gives? am I doing something wrong with settings or is this just a non base stereo system in need of an upgrade?? Im thinking it could be a fuse maybe?? very puzzled.
The base stereo (which I have) is of very low sound quality. The 'bass' comes from the front door speakers. They are actually quite noticeable, but the sound is not 'clean', very 'muddy'. There are no 'sub-wwofers'. If your system functions as intended, that is probably why you don't hear/feel the 'thump'. [I am amazed a car company like Lexus can offer such low-quality sound.] There are several methods to improve the sound, from replacing the system to adding a small sub-woofer. (Search the forum). I hardly listen to music in my car because the low-quality sound is too painful to listen to.
On the off-chance that your system does not function correctly, you can ask a Lexus dealer to check it out. They have a CD (with adjusted sound - sounds better than any 'regular CD!!!) to test the system by rolling through highs, medium and bass. You shoudl ask them to verify that your system works well.
In my car, I have adjusted my sound to the least intolerable level by privileging the front speakers. Out of - if I recall - sound positioning that can be up to number "5", I am at number "3" towards the front. The rear speakers (the mediums) are really bad and destroy any pleasure in listening. Try setting the sound to fader 'front' (3 or 4) then try to adjust bass etc... to get the best you can. Still lousy, but ..... barely listenable at low volumes.
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Old 09-01-13, 07:59 AM   #3
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The base stereo (which I have) is of very low sound quality. The 'bass' comes from the front door speakers. They are actually quite noticeable, but the sound is not 'clean', very 'muddy'. There are no 'sub-wwofers'. If your system functions as intended, that is probably why you don't hear/feel the 'thump'. [I am amazed a car company like Lexus can offer such low-quality sound.] There are several methods to improve the sound, from replacing the system to adding a small sub-woofer. (Search the forum). I hardly listen to music in my car because the low-quality sound is too painful to listen to.
On the off-chance that your system does not function correctly, you can ask a Lexus dealer to check it out. They have a CD (with adjusted sound - sounds better than any 'regular CD!!!) to test the system by rolling through highs, medium and bass. You shoudl ask them to verify that your system works well.
In my car, I have adjusted my sound to the least intolerable level by privileging the front speakers. Out of - if I recall - sound positioning that can be up to number "5", I am at number "3" towards the front. The rear speakers (the mediums) are really bad and destroy any pleasure in listening. Try setting the sound to fader 'front' (3 or 4) then try to adjust bass etc... to get the best you can. Still lousy, but ..... barely listenable at low volumes.
So it's not me, I have to say that is a real let down. The model I have has navigation and a bunch of otber options, I would have thought it would have had a 'decent' stereo, still cannot believe it.
Guess I will be looking at new speakers with an amp. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 09-01-13, 08:16 AM   #4
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Even the Mark Levinson system that customers pay extra for, sucks on the RX. Best to seek an aftermarket solution.
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Old 09-01-13, 08:53 AM   #5
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I am curious to know if somewhere along the way they changed the base stereo system in the 2nd Generation RX from the one initially found in the early RX330? While I am up there in age now, suffering through the explosions of war and having attended my share of rock concerts over the years, I do not find the base stereo in my RX to be all that bad as others have stated here over the years. Seeing quite a number of complaints for the RX350 I am thus wondering about a change being made or a possibly a drop in quality. I have owned some very high end sound equipment over the years so I know what quality is supposed to sound like. Give me a good tube amp any day of the week compared to some of the stuff available today. Also, I am not so sure the open box configuration and speaker placement of the RX lends itself well to concert hall quality sound.

One item I see of note was that you had the volume at 50. That is quite loud, at least on my system. At that volume you would more than likely be overdriving the speakers to some small degree and there will be degradation. Perhaps the previous owner was just as hard on the sound system as yourself and has done some damage. Another guess would be to look at your music source quality and the type of music you are playing. My music catalog which I carry on a series of iPod Classics is stored in ALAC format which is of lossless quality. However, I do not have much which has a huge pronouncement of bass. Still, when I do play some of my music loud I can feel the air being moved from the driver door speaker by my left leg.

At one time there were a number of reference/calibration CDs on the market. Not sure what is available today. Asking your dealer if you can borrow theirs for a few minutes as pauljcl suggested would not be a bad idea. Or, if you have a quality SACD CD that can do in a pinch. Run mine every now and then in my RX as well as my home system just for kicks. I also have DVD and Blu-ray discs for calibration of video as well in combination with the home system. They can make a big difference in the quality of your setups if you do not own one. Any time I purchase a new vehicle I bring along my reference CD to play. Not sure what I might do in the future as CDs in vehicles disappear.

There are several threads to be found here at CL from RX owners who have upgraded their systems in part or whole. New headends, added subwoofers in the hatch... the lot. Have a look at those should you decide you cannot live with what you have in current form.

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Old 09-01-13, 02:13 PM   #6
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Even the Mark Levinson system that customers pay extra for, sucks on the RX. Best to seek an aftermarket solution.
Yeah, and pay even more to get no noticeable improvement whatsoever. Name me ANY system - regardless of the car price - which is significantly better than the ML on the RX, if you can.
I couldn't agree more with what RX330in FL said, in fact.
Anyone who think that the RX system (even the base one) is not good enough for listening music in a car, and that the problem is the components quality, make me wonder if they have an idea of how proper music should feel like.
I mean, as in a Carnegie Hall concert, for instance...
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Old 09-01-13, 05:08 PM   #7
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I actually went so fas as to run a computer audio test on my RX330 ML system. It is quite accurate in an unmoving vehicle. It is a little deficient on low bass but not that short. The audio accurcy of the 2004 RX330 ML is really quite good. If the noise reduction in the car were a bit better, it would be golden. I've owned around 50+ vehicles over the years and none had as accurate of an audio system.

I can't comment on the standard audio system.

I tested my RX330 ML system with a CD test disk with both discrete audio tones as well as sweep tones and measured the response with my computer and a Audyessy microphone. The car was parked and running on the battery. The audio was clean and very close to the source spec, essentially flat from 50-16,000 1 db at the drivers position. Audio controls set to Base-2, Treble-2, Midrange-3.

The audio sounds reasonably nice even when rolling. Bearing in mind, I was in a 155 Howitzer battalion in the Army, and my hearing is not as good as I'd like, the specs don't have any hearing loss like i do. If I want to bump the treble up a notch to compensate for my HF hearing loss it still sounds pretty good.

Not sure about audio quality of the later models of the ML system but as I'm waiting to purchase a 2014 with ML I'll retest it when I get it.
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Old 09-01-13, 05:50 PM   #8
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Yeah, and pay even more to get no noticeable improvement whatsoever. Name me ANY system - regardless of the car price - which is significantly better than the ML on the RX, if you can.
I couldn't agree more with what RX330in FL said, in fact.
Anyone who think that the RX system (even the base one) is not good enough for listening music in a car, and that the problem is the components quality, make me wonder if they have an idea of how proper music should feel like.
I mean, as in a Carnegie Hall concert, for instance...
First, I can definitely name a sound system which is better than the ML on the RX... the ML system in the Lexus LS. Think the LS being a much quieter vehicle and that it is a car and not a wagon is a big help. You really can notice the difference but whether it is significant is hard to quantify. Have heard a few others which have been top notch such as the B&O system in the Audi A8. When traveling down the road over rough or uneven pavement if the cabin is not dead quiet it matters little how good the stereo system is or the quality of the material being played. Perhaps that is why the OP feels the need to crank the sound volume up to 50.

I am curious to know more about this as there has to be more to these complaints. Is it the music type? Is it the music quality -- lossless MP3 files? Is it that the system is not some 1000-watt monster capable of deafening the individuals in the car next to yours? The system in the OP's Mitsubishi Outlander was more than likely a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate which includes a digital signal processor along with including a 10-inch subwoofer. A guess would be that these folks are ramping up the bass and volume and muddling out the system trying to compensate for the lack of a subwoofer. Play a reference CD in these RX systems others are complaining about and after adjustments I would guess that many probably sound pretty good while sitting still with the engine off with the right music.
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Old 09-01-13, 08:51 PM   #9
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Just dynamat the doors, change out all the speakers, throw a 12 inch sub in the back, add 2 amplifiers and then custom build the double din kit for the iPad Mini and win. Easy.

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Old 09-01-13, 11:41 PM   #10
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We have a base stereo in our 07 Rx400h and I'm very disappointed with the sound quality. My 01 VW Golf TDI Monsoon sounds so much better and we just came back on a road trip in our friend's Audi Q5 Bang & Olfusen sounds amazing. Back to the Lexus, it's comparable to my mother-in-law's 06 Sienna.

In my opinion, the bass sounds very muddy, there's a huge lack of mid-range, and the treble is too harsh. There are only a handful of music types that sound decent with this spectrum...none of which I enjoy. I was just at the Hollywood Bowl last night and I thought to myself, "man, I wish we could have this sound quality in the car."
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Old 09-02-13, 07:05 AM   #11
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Just dynamat the doors, change out all the speakers, throw a 12 inch sub in the back, add 2 amplifiers and then custom build the double din kit for the iPad Mini and win. Easy.
Good advice, however the iPad doesn't seem very practical to me and it also adds a lot to the cost. Maybe install an adapter for iPod instead.
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Old 09-02-13, 09:01 AM   #12
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dude the B&O system is pretty awesome when compared to our ML. But i love my ML!
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Old 09-02-13, 10:24 AM   #13
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Looks like I'll be updating the speakers, amp and adding a sub. I don't need window shaking bass, just want SOME bass. Maybe I'll try new speakers with an amp and see how that goes first and then add as sub if necessary. I like the ipad mini idea but as mentioned adds to cost and I don't care for the asthetics, rather keep the stock look. Trying to keep this down in cost as I'm replacing the old cracked dash for $500 right now. LOL, still in disbelief about this 'stereo'!
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Old 09-02-13, 12:45 PM   #14
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Looks like I'll be updating the speakers, amp and adding a sub. I don't need window shaking bass, just want SOME bass. Maybe I'll try new speakers with an amp and see how that goes first and then add as sub if necessary. I like the ipad mini idea but as mentioned adds to cost and I don't care for the asthetics, rather keep the stock look. Trying to keep this down in cost as I'm replacing the old cracked dash for $500 right now. LOL, still in disbelief about this 'stereo'!
Ipad Mini install wasn't cheap, ok, I'll admit it. Just leave that part out, also, you could get the Metra Double Din Kit if you want to just replace the stock stereo with a Double Din or Single Din Sony App Remote so you can interface with an Android or iOS device.
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Old 09-02-13, 04:23 PM   #15
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First, I can definitely name a sound system which is better than the ML on the RX... the ML system in the Lexus LS. Think the LS being a much quieter vehicle and that it is a car and not a wagon is a big help. You really can notice the difference but whether it is significant is hard to quantify. Have heard a few others which have been top notch such as the B&O system in the Audi A8. When traveling down the road over rough or uneven pavement if the cabin is not dead quiet it matters little how good the stereo system is or the quality of the material being played. Perhaps that is why the OP feels the need to crank the sound volume up to 50.
That's exactly my point.
You didn't actually name a better system, but rather a more silent car (both for the LS and the A8).
Btw, I know perfectly the A8 system, and while I agree that the final result is pretty good for in-car music listening, I don't think it's really better than the ML on our RX, if you would listen to it while parked.
In other words, most of the final result does NOT actually depend on the components quality, and improving them is in most cases just a waste of money and time.
Even in a concert hall, you couldn't enjoy a proper listening if anyone around you would chat loudly...
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Old 09-02-13, 04:23 PM
 
 
 
 
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