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Old 08-17-12, 11:10 PM   #16
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My 2009 Bimmer had the upgraded high-end (Harmon Kardon) Pro Logic system and I didn't consider it's sound any better -- perhaps worse -- than the Mark Levinson in my RX400h. I really think the sound quality has to do with the total package -- speaker types, locations, amp, etc -- not just the brand. Anyways, I just checked the old Bimmer forums I used to also haunt, and comments there are as mixed as here on the Lexus forum -- some people liking the sound, others complaining, with both standard and upgraded audio systems. It probably is subjective and all comes back to one's taste in music, primary source of the sound they listen to, and how that plays out on the audio system they have in a particular vehicle.
I would have to disagree. My 2009 BMW M3 had the upgraded Harmon Kardon system and I thought it was significantly better than my wife's 2011 12 speaker RX350 system. I listened to the Levinson system and it wasn't good enough to justify the price. I don't know what it is with Lexus. They make such nice cars but the audio systems leave so much to be desired. Then again, the Bose system in my $100K Nissan GT-R isn't very good either. The most impressive systems I have heard were the B&W in the Jaguar XF, and the Bang & Olufsen in the new Audi A8. That was quite nice.

Going to trade my 2011 RX for a 2013 and will likely forgo the Levinson option, again.
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Old 08-18-12, 06:19 AM   #17
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I believe sound systems are one of the most subjective options in a vehicle for each of us. We each listen to different things, at different volumes, with the windows and sunroof open or closed, and the passenger/cargo areas full or not. What I do think is important is when we compare across brands, we try to do it "like for like", meaning, if we want to compare the "standard" sound system in an RX, we do that to the "standard" version in something like a BMW -- or compare the ML to the Harmon Kardon in a BMW when we want to compare optional premium systems, for example.

Anyways, I agree -- the sound system in the present 2013 RX could still be better. The ML in my beloved SC430 was still the best I've ever owned -- it was the first generation of the ML and Lexus relationship so I suspect all the stops were pulled out at the time. This thread is a bit dated now, as I took delivery of my 2013 RXh with ML in early June after my last post here, and have now lived with the ML system for that much time. Personally, I would buy the ML again -- especially with the option price having dropped nearly half on the 2013 compared to the 2012. Besides it having a DVD player, imaging is superior with the 15-speaker version, compared to the 9 or 12-speaker "standard" versions in the RX. I listen to tunes 99% of the time that I'm in the truck, and for less than 1% extra on my special-ordered purchase price, the ML is a lot better for me to live with for the 5-7 years I'll likely have this great ride. I recognize I'm in the minority, as ML is harder to find on RX most people take off the lots, and not everyone wants to pay for it, but that's what I love about options.

Good luck with your trade-in and ENJOY that new 2013!
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Old 08-18-12, 03:14 PM   #18
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Personally I would never put the stereo system as a high priority, because I think to really appreciate the system you have to raise the volume to the point that you are damaging your hearing. That being said if someone really wanted to test if the speakers are the issue, they could try using head phones.
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Old 08-18-12, 09:48 PM   #19
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This is my first Lexus vehicle, I had BMWs before this. I went for the ML option and I think it is significantly better. One thing I've noticed, the XM radio seems to fade a lot. I have never experienced this with my wife's Sorento.
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Old 08-19-12, 10:08 AM   #20
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Yes, the 9 speaker sound system on my 2012 RX has been a disappointment. Not even close to the sound quality of my last car--an Acura TL. You would think for 40k + you would get acceptable audio. Particularly surprising is the AM radio. Of course AM always sounds bad compared to FM and discs, but the RX has EVEN WORSE AM sound compared to any car I've ever had. Would anyone agree with that?
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Old 09-26-12, 11:45 AM   #21
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I just bought a 2013 RX350 and have the 12 speaker set up. Not horrible, but also nothing special either....especially the lack of bass. I was wondering if any of you have done any custom installations for rear speakers to add some bass. I am just looking for ideas on how to add some bump without losing my trunk space. I saw one installation where they replaced the spare tire with a few 12" speakers and a 600 watt amp. I don't want to lose my spare tire, so that option is out. I also don't want the standard box or tube that will take up space for groceries or normal things I will put in my trunk. If anyone has ideas, or better yet, has pictures of what you might have done...please share!

Thanks!
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Old 09-26-12, 07:34 PM   #22
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Try putting some sound deadening material in the cargo area. Pull the sub and the 'L' shaped piece attached to it and apply the material all around the area. Get behind the sub and under the 'L' shaped piece as well as the rest of the cargo area while you are at it. It should help and won't cost that much.
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Old 01-26-13, 06:18 PM   #23
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Default RX350 2007 Navigation if you can call it navigation

Hi everybody,

I just bought a used 2007 RX350 with 95K to replace my love RX300 1999 with 220K. My old one was in perfect shape and running like new with original transmission. But I got a good deal on this one from my friend dealer in perfect shape and decided it was the time to say good-bye to my old love. I test drove it but did not even bother to check the sound system assuming it should haven as good or better as it was in my 300. After everything was settled I finally turned it on. I did not like the sound right away. I thought it could have been just the settings. Well, I set it the same way as it was on RX300: treble +5, middle 0, base +2, on the scale from -5 to +5 and still no good. Whatever I tried I could not get the quality of the sound of my old RX300. The sound is really really bad!!!

I just could not believe it this is Lexus stereo. In RX300 the sound was just amazing. It was crystal clear. I could put the volume on the minimum and still hear every sound with a nice tight bass and clear treble, every instrument, every note, unbelievable center stage, I was just wrapped up by the sound. And it was a standard Pioneer system, not even premium Nakimichi.

The designer of that system was just a genius. It has just 7 speakers. 2 tweeters in the corners of the dashboard all the way to the windshield raised up facing the cabin, 2 woofers in the front doors and 2 mid-range smaller speakers in the rear doors. But here comes the king of the system: subwoofer under the front passenger seat. The radio sound was of CD quality not to mention CDs themselves. As I said even the radio stereo sound was nothing but amazing. Who was the idiot who killed such a beautiful sound? Why for they put 9 speakers which sound like 1 speaker? I just can't believe it. You don't have to be a super audiophile to understand this sound is crap. Did the 'designer' of this system has a hearing problem?

I read some posts above the you guys are not happy even with 2013 models even with premium system. I think I can believe it now. I saw one of the latest models with a subwoofer in the trunk on left side. Why did they took away valuable space? What was wrong under the passenger seat location? None of my passengers ever felt any vibration under the seat even I cranked the volume. It just produced nice tight bass which filled up the cabin. Not sure if it does anything good all the way in the back especially if the tonneau cover is pulled up. Why so many speakers and people still complain? They better did it with 4 speakers in the doors and that's it. It could have been the same sound and who knows may be even better. The idiot designer screwed up big time. Why was to re-invent the wheel? Why to do something just for the sake of doing something instead of keeping the same system as it was on RX300 1999.

I don't understand also why the manufacturers are obsessed with 11, 13 or even 17 speakers? I have a Bose stereo system at home which I bought back in 1998. It just 3 speakers system: subwoofer and 2 tweeters. As of today the system sound is simply amazing. I still surprise new guests every time I turn it on. They can't understand where the sound is coming from. I trick them showing the small cubes with the tweeters which are in the corners of my living room on the wall. They are shocked. Then I reveal the secret showing the 'invisible' subwoofer sitting behind the TV stand which is the heart of the system. Why the car manufacturer put 17 speakers in the car making it more complex and expensive and still producing crappy sound instead of doing something similar to Bose? Or at least, keep what was already good instead of killing it. I don't understand how they charge 50 grand for the luxury car where the stereo sound is worse then in my Ford Taurus 1988 where I think there were only 2 speakers?

What a disappointment!

Last edited by yuribud; 12-15-14 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 01-27-13, 09:20 AM   #24
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Default RX350 2007 Navigation if you can call it navigation (part 2)

I just received update DVD with the new version 12.1. It took literally 5 minutes to replace. Lexus charges $100 'labor'. Anyway, these are my first impressions after update. Good news is the caution screen goes away in a few seconds by itself. Thank God! This was so annoying to push 'I agree' button every time. I read some people spent $300 for some device to unblock this screen. Just buy the latest version and you don't have to mess around with the wires.

After digging around I finally noticed the turn list button. May be it was available on the previous version and I could miss it but I found it now so it made me feel a little bit better. So I punched the destination, chose the first route out of three and selected the turn list. The first surprise the list is upside down. It starts with current point at the bottom of the screen and goes up. Come on, this is text. Any text in English goes from top of the page to the bottom. This is how it's done on any online map. This is how it's done on my TomTom GPS. Ok, not a big deal, I can live with it, at least it's available. So I review my route to my job, it's about 30 miles. The first route is OK, kind of standard, but the other 2 are just ridiculous. I would never take those 2 routes. There is a second optional route must be available which is similar to the first, but it never showed up. Also, it looks like if I choose any route and I don't like it then I can't switch to another one, unless I start from the beginning by pushing the Dest button and choosing from Previous. On TomTom 2007, after the selected route is displayed I can hit 'Alternate route' and it shows me a different one, I can do it as many time as long they are available and at any time I can push the Original route and it's displayed without doing it from scratch again.

Now, the turn list. It just says how many miles from this turn to that turn and shows a graphic image of the turn. But it does not say what exit number on the highway!!! For example, it says 7 miles with the image of right turn and says Store Hill road which is a service road. There is no sign on the highway for this road. Even if I am watching for these 7 miles there is still no that sign. It should say exit 40W Jericho, exactly what the sign says. That's how the turn list shows on TomTom, that's how online maps show. On TT it tells the exit #, so when I am on the highway I don't even watch the GPS because I know till what exit I need to go. I don't care how the service road called, I need the exit number.

And it's even worse. When I turn right from Cross Island Parkway then I am getting on Grand Central Parkway (GCP). This is actually the very end of GCP and it turns almost immediately into Northern State Parkway (NSP). It does not say it. It does say GCP for 1 mile which is correct, then it says continue on GCP for 7 miles. But this is not GCP any more, this is NSP and sign clearly says so. This is just damn dangerous! If I am not from that area I will be lost right on the highway. Then again, (I am really angry) it says to take Store Hill Road when there is no such a sign. It should say exit 40W Jericho first and then Store Hill Road as they wish to announce it.

Unbelievable! Even they screwed up in 2007 they still did not fix it. Why they did not pair with some reputable GPS company and put their software instead of re-inventing the wheel. They better concentrate how to use this software on their hardware in a more user-friendly fashion. I am a very technical person. I don't know how an average driver who only knows how to start the car will ever figure it out how to use this 'state-of-the-art' GPS as they advertised.

I did not drive yet. I will do in a few hours and post my update.
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Old 01-27-13, 11:31 AM   #25
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Yuribud, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you seem so unhappy with your new 2007.

FWIW, this Lexus site may be of help to you in the future as it relates to navigation -- what's in a particular update so you can decide if you want to purchase it, and you are able to provide feedback on places where navigation has errors or something is missing (similar to what one does with feedback to Apple Maps, Google Maps, etc -- and praying those companies eventually update their database one day). Probably of greatest importance however, is my experience has been, as well as references on that Lexus site are that the "Nav updates" are really for the map database only (not the logic behind how it's used). I too am a technical (software) person. I've really seen the greatest difference in my 4 different Lexus Navigation interfaces and "how smart it seems to be" only when I've used different generations of the Nav itself that come with newer models and MY. Map updates, generally provide just that -- new subdivisions, new POI, etc, and sometimes it takes many years for Navteq (Nokia) to get those in there (even when I did submit the feedback on something missing or I found in error). My former BMW didn't even have a mechanism for me to provide map feedback on the multiple times it routed me through crazy (and scary) places.

Good luck with your new ride. I hope after you're able to discover and get by a few annoying things, you find your 2007 is even better than your cherished 1999. I loved my 1999 RX300 as well, but my 2006 RX400h was a huge upgrade in many ways including it's Nav, and I couldn't be happier with my 2013 RX450h. Is it perfect? No ...but for me, each upgrade has provided overall improvement and I've been happy with my decisions.
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Old 01-27-13, 01:55 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BertL View Post
Yuribud, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you seem so unhappy with your new 2007.

FWIW, this Lexus site may be of help to you in the future as it relates to navigation -- what's in a particular update so you can decide if you want to purchase it, and you are able to provide feedback on places where navigation has errors or something is missing (similar to what one does with feedback to Apple Maps, Google Maps, etc -- and praying those companies eventually update their database one day). Probably of greatest importance however, is my experience has been, as well as references on that Lexus site are that the "Nav updates" are really for the map database only (not the logic behind how it's used). I too am a technical (software) person. I've really seen the greatest difference in my 4 different Lexus Navigation interfaces and "how smart it seems to be" only when I've used different generations of the Nav itself that come with newer models and MY. Map updates, generally provide just that -- new subdivisions, new POI, etc, and sometimes it takes many years for Navteq (Nokia) to get those in there (even when I did submit the feedback on something missing or I found in error). My former BMW didn't even have a mechanism for me to provide map feedback on the multiple times it routed me through crazy (and scary) places.

Good luck with your new ride. I hope after you're able to discover and get by a few annoying things, you find your 2007 is even better than your cherished 1999. I loved my 1999 RX300 as well, but my 2006 RX400h was a huge upgrade in many ways including it's Nav, and I couldn't be happier with my 2013 RX450h. Is it perfect? No ...but for me, each upgrade has provided overall improvement and I've been happy with my decisions.
Hi BertL,

thank you for encouraging response. I am also a software person. I did not expect the new update would change the interface, just expected better maps but don't see any difference except the Caution screen disappears by itself in a few seconds w/o punching 'I agree' button every time I start the car which is a big relief. I don't mind to go through the Lexus learning curve to learn their over complicated user interface when instead of pressing one button I need to press 3 or 4 more just to get to the screen I need. What I am saying the maps themselves and directions are really bad. As I said if it were the 1st generation of nav back in 2002 then it would have been understandable. But by 2007 the GPS devices had improved 1,000%. 2007 was a newly designed 350, but looks like they just slapped the old system on. This was the year when I bought TomTom for my 300. It was my first GPS. I started using it without any instructions within a few minutes I unpacked it and it still blows away the Lexus nav.

As far as RX300 comparison, the only thing I don't miss is a ridiculous turn radius which everybody knew it was a design bug. Sometimes in a tight parking lot I had to back up a few times to get between 2 parked cars. Otherwise, I think the person who designed that car was a genius. Hi was ahead of his time. The layout of controls, ergonomics, all that convenience bins in the center console, etc. The info screen was very useful where I could see all the information at once: radio, climate settings, outside temp, current travel time which I don't see it on this one. The trip information screen in 350 shows information like average speed, gallons consumptions, etc. which I care less, but missing current travel time from the beginning of the trip which was a very useful feature.
Yes, the ride quality feels improved, yes it feels smoother, but I did not have any issues with the 300 either. It was very good for 13 years old car. At 220K miles it was all original suspension parts and still strong except I changed all 4 struts at 150K. I like the idea the 350 has timing chain instead of belt so I don't have to worry about changing it. But it seems to me the 350 engine sounds actually louder for this reason. I check some posts and people do say it is loud and sounds like a diesel. I would say it's both: getting louder than 300 on acceleration but quieter at a stable speed. On the other hand, changing the timing belt at every 90K not a big deal, it's about $500 at a private shop. I changed my mine at 120K and the mechanic was surprised about the quality, it felt very strong and looked like new. I never changed it since then, although if I kept the 300 I probably would just for a peace of mind.

I like it has 50 more horse power. Do I really feel it? Not sure. I expected this will be the difference when I test drove X5 with 6 cylinders and then with 8. It was a huge difference. The 300 with 220 HP was very quick. The extra 50 horses in 350 do add more power but does not really feel dramatic. Hopefully, I will notice on my refills. Hopefully, the more powerful engine will spend less energy to haul this weight, so the MPG will be more pocket friendly. The 300 was very thirsty.

The stereo sound is another story. Read my post above if you wish. This is another huge disappointment.

I really don't want to compare those 2 cars. The 300 is gone. The only thing I don't understand why they took away a super excellent stereo sound from 300 and replaced with something so crappy. And the Nav. After wasting all this time trying to get into Lexus mentality I think I am going to use my trusty TomTom which saved me so many times and never let me down. I don't really want to go to a place I don't know where it says I should go Grand Central Parkway for 7 miles when the sign reads this is actually Northern State Parkway.

Thank You

Yuri
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Old 12-27-13, 02:57 PM   #27
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Quote:
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15-speaker (Mark Levinson)** has:
1+1 Center (Coaxial) (dash; and don't ask me what "1+1 coaxial" means as I copied it from the table, except that's how you get to 15!)
...
I came across this thread in my search about speaker placement and decided to search for this answer.
According to the lexus website:
The center channel coaxial speaker consists of a 90-mm metal cone midrange speaker and a 16-mm tweeter
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Old 12-27-13, 03:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mors View Post
I came across this thread in my search about speaker placement and decided to search for this answer.
According to the lexus website:
The center channel coaxial speaker consists of a 90-mm metal cone midrange speaker and a 16-mm tweeter
Appreciate the research and info! Thanks!
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Old 12-30-13, 01:49 PM   #29
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[QUOTE=Paul B;7245182I've had Lexuses since a 1998 LS400 and they've all had the Mark Levinson stereo - much better than this one, but I've heard the Harmon Kardon top of the line is the best.
[/QUOTE]

Do you mean Nakamichi in your '98? Nakamichi probably was the best system I have ever had in auto sound system. I had both '94 LS400 and '96SC400 with optional Nakamichi and they sounded unbelievable good.

For current RX, all the systems are called "Premium". it starts with 9 speakers and next with 12 speakers and top out with ML with 15 speakers. All three systems don't sound all that impressive and I think it has to be with location of the speakers and cabin layout to cause the sound to "go dull". Mine since new, when first starting out in rainy/humid day, sound starts with lot of distortion until the amp warms.
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Old 01-02-14, 07:41 PM   #30
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Do you mean Nakamichi in your '98? Nakamichi probably was the best system I have ever had in auto sound system. I had both '94 LS400 and '96SC400 with optional Nakamichi and they sounded unbelievable good.

For current RX, all the systems are called "Premium". it starts with 9 speakers and next with 12 speakers and top out with ML with 15 speakers. All three systems don't sound all that impressive and I think it has to be with location of the speakers and cabin layout to cause the sound to "go dull". Mine since new, when first starting out in rainy/humid day, sound starts with lot of distortion until the amp warms.
usually it is not the number of speakers that matters but rather the quality of the signal and quality of the amps, then the speaker's quality and location. You just can't improve "dirty" signal when the input into the amp. is not clean enough, and then the amps add distortion.
Unfortunately now that HU and amps are integrated into the computer system/main control, it is practically impossible to replace the HU, and very dificult to add amps w/o running into problems w/ parking sensors, noise in the system/etc.
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