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Mark Levinson sound quality

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Old 09-28-12, 07:45 AM   #16
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25 sq ft is only enough to do the cargo area. I think I used at least 75sq ft to do the RX but it might have been more. You might want to start with the cargo area and see if you get the results you are looking for. Yes, I did remove the sub and did the area behind it, that is important. You have to completely remove the door panels to get to and behind the door speakers. Note pictures.
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Old 09-28-12, 05:20 PM   #17
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Here are a few photos of the sub area. I put that sound deadening where ever I could find a blank spot.
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Old 09-28-12, 08:42 PM   #18
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Thanks for the pics. Gues I will start with the rear sub since you said that is what gave you the biggest improvemant.
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Old 09-29-12, 10:39 AM   #19
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I find the critics rather severe for the ML (15spk) on the RX unless you prefer the "boom boom" of noisy audio and other deadening sounds.

I had a Volvo XC90 equipped with Dynaudio (Danish) system with 12spk, with equalizer and believe me or not I really prefer the sound quality and purity of the Mark Levison even though the equalizer is not there.

Coming from the 400h with ML as well where we can tune the sound as said above with the "driver", "all passengers", etc. function, the sound on the RX450h is much better, particularly the "distribution" of the sound wherever you are in the car.
Have you tried on rear seats to listen the music ? It's really amazing... and pure sound even with a bass "box" which is rather small but really sufficient.
In addition, the quality of the record (CD or radio...) is an important factor.

Now, quality may also come from difference of devices between US imports and European imports. Sound speakers in France are ML as well.
I have recently compared the sound quality of the Mercedes Benz SUV the ML equipped with harman kardon and the sound is more "electronic".
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Old 03-08-13, 05:24 PM   #20
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> I'm curious if there are others who find the Mark Levinson stereo in the latest RX very underwhelming.

13 RX, ML... Underwhelmed, is an understatement :-) If they offered a $3k upgrade, I would have opted for it. This $995 upgrade is so marginal.... I hate adding accessories to a nice car... I too will try the dynamat Extreme...but my gosh, sounds like you have to tear the entire car apart to access all the speakers... I will start with the ones most accessible, I guess....argggg... hard to imagine Lexus doesnt install this stuff at the factory, when the everything is exposed.
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Old 03-08-13, 06:30 PM   #21
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Sorry, but this discussion about the value of ML has been discussed multiple times here on this forum, just in the past year. I'll let others do the searches to find the threads this time. . IMO, net is, it comes down to a subjective call on behalf of the buyer or owner. 2013 owners fortunately are paying nearly half for ML than 2010-12 did here in the US if they are willing to wait and special order most of the time.

FWIW, I'd net my opinion that I've expressed in other threads, down to the sound systems as a whole in the gen3 are not as good as what I had in gen2 -- certainly comparing ML in both which I've owned. Primarily bass is lacking in the 2013, but I also miss the more direct ability to set "the best seat in the house" function I could do with the gen2. When I start shopping for any new ride, I create a CD with 3-4 partial tracks of disparet music, but things I listen to and know very well -- generally artists or productions I've seen live. I listen to that CD at home before I go to any dealer, and then that CD becomes part of my test drive. Unlike some, sound is nearly as important as how a vehicle drives to me -- certainly in my luxury vehicles while I can afford them. Anyway, the net is, I'd still pay for the ML upgrade, as I did with my 2013 RX450h vs. what my ears heard with the 9 or 12 speaker versions. Is ML and it's implementation in the 2010-2013 RX the best? No. Is it the worst? No. For me, it's acceptable and better than most, and without the option for special ordering the ML option, it could have well been a deal breaker in my pursuit of a 2012/13 RX -- as good of overall experience I've had with this model across 3 gens, coming on nearly 15 continuous years now.
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Last edited by BertL; 03-09-13 at 05:29 AM.. Reason: typo/spelling, esp "base" to "bass" :-)
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Old 03-08-13, 08:42 PM   #22
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Not to be a nitpicker (I know.. I am.. sorry) - but it's BASS when referring to low frequency audio.

The misuse is like fingernails on a blackboard for me. I'm sure it's just me..

Good info on adding the damping material. I'll be taking a look at the rear woofer area when I get home (on a trip with the RX.) Things like this can help kill reflections that can cancel the bass frequencies - - and I'd hazard a guess that's why it helps. I'm not looking for stop-light pounding bass - I'm just looking for some low frequency response that's missing. I know it's missing since I use the same source (an iPod) on my Cayenne, which has wonderful low frequency response thanks to a separate amp/subwoofer under the rear floor of the luggage compartment - the area around the subwoofer and spare tire has a thick layer of tarred material that probably serves the same function.

Thanks again for the info. Any hints on removing the interior panels without destroying them would be very helpful.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:33 AM   #23
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Agree with the original post. ML audio system is poor compared with previous years, and the competition as well.

I have an 2012 ISF with the ML audio system and I hate it, and did not have a choice as all ISF's came loaded with every option.

I am currently working a deal on a 2013 RX350, and made it clear that I dont want the ML audio system.

I actually took my car back to the dealer thinking the sub woofer was busted or something. I sat in bunch of cars with the same audio source to compare audio sound quality, and ML under performed even with comparison to non ML audio system. The bass response simply did not deliver. This is purely for classic rock type of music.
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Old 03-09-13, 02:41 PM   #24
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> The bass response simply did not deliver. This is purely for classic rock type of music.

fully agreed, 100%.... we listen to the same music....

So, I ordered some dyanmat.... I can see where you cover the car metal behind the speaker, but in areas where this is difficult access, can you simply wrap the speaker back with the dynamat? I think I saw that in a few of the posted pix? this should be interesting, and if it works, well, a big saving grace IMO...
thanks for input guys....
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Old 03-09-13, 03:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post
> The bass response simply did not deliver. This is purely for classic rock type of music.

fully agreed, 100%.... we listen to the same music....

So, I ordered some dyanmat.... I can see where you cover the car metal behind the speaker, but in areas where this is difficult access, can you simply wrap the speaker back with the dynamat? I think I saw that in a few of the posted pix? this should be interesting, and if it works, well, a big saving grace IMO...
thanks for input guys....
I actually think the ML has a nice clear balanced sound. I found pumping the bass up in the configuration helped a lot. The overall sound though is very pleasant at volume 30-40.

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Old 03-09-13, 06:30 PM   #26
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What is Volkswagen 30-40? Is the ML in a VW?

It is easy to confuse issues quickly in these sound threads.... sound quality needs to be measured at different volume levels and price points to be fair. As I suggested in this thread, and others, for the minimal upgraded price, as Bert L has defended Lexus very well, it's clearly worth the $999. Agreed.... But that does not make the system high quality for all of us....

Where the ML falls short IMO, is at higher volumes... I have Klipsh home WIFI speakers, they are small, and superb sound, with marginal bass of course due to small size and no sub. However, the volume is also limited to prevent distortion. For $300, very impressed with sound quality.... no match for my high end stereo that is the size of half an RX.

13 RX ML can be classified the same, for the $, its not a bad sound system, but forgetting the cost, it's only mediocre, if you listen to rock type music which is heavy bass and you listen at loud volume. These two areas is where the ML falls short...I would have loved to hear the previous ML systems to compare....

So, its not Lexus bashing here, its just wanting more. Lexus took the middle road with the 13 ML. Just like the other costly options, it seems Lexus has learned, very few people buy them, as it takes a mid priced car , and before you know it, the car price can escalate too high. So my guess, they downsized the ML upgrade to make it more affordable, as they have assessed this is what the avg. RX buyer is willing to pay for, and find acceptable. Thats fair in my book...but if they offered an A kicking 2nd upgrade, I am sure many of us would opt for it.

Now, back to making the installed ML sound better :-)
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Old 03-09-13, 06:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post
What is Volkswagen 30-40? Is the ML in a VW?

It is easy to confuse issues quickly in these sound threads.... sound quality needs to be measured at different volume levels and price points to be fair. As I suggested in this thread, and others, for the minimal upgraded price, as Bert L has defended Lexus very well, it's clearly worth the $999. Agreed.... But that does not make the system high quality for all of us....

Where the ML falls short IMO, is at higher volumes... I have Klipsh home WIFI speakers, they are small, and superb sound, with marginal bass of course due to small size and no sub. However, the volume is also limited to prevent distortion. For $300, very impressed with sound quality.... no match for my high end stereo that is the size of half an RX.

13 RX ML can be classified the same, for the $, its not a bad sound system, but forgetting the cost, it's only mediocre, if you listen to rock type music which is heavy bass and you listen at loud volume. These two areas is where the ML falls short...I would have loved to hear the previous ML systems to compare....

So, its not Lexus bashing here, its just wanting more. Lexus took the middle road with the 13 ML. Just like the other costly options, it seems Lexus has learned, very few people buy them, as it takes a mid priced car , and before you know it, the car price can escalate too high. So my guess, they downsized the ML upgrade to make it more affordable, as they have assessed this is what the avg. RX buyer is willing to pay for, and find acceptable. Thats fair in my book...but if they offered an A kicking 2nd upgrade, I am sure many of us would opt for it.

Now, back to making the installed ML sound better :-)
lol, damn autocorrect on my phone. I meant volume not Volkswagen. .

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Old 03-09-13, 06:45 PM   #28
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Quote:
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lol, damn autocorrect on my phone. I meant volume not Volkswagen.
Oh, that's too funny. I thought we'd run into one of those interesting US/Canadian differences sorta thing. . My autocorrect does strange stuff all the time as evidenced in many of my posts.
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Old 03-09-13, 06:50 PM   #29
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Quote:
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Oh, that's too funny. I thought we'd run into one of those interesting US/Canadian differences sorta thing. . My autocorrect does strange stuff all the time as evidenced in many of my posts.
hehe, didn't you know we measure all sound by Volkswagen levels? Just wondering if everyone has enabled the surround DSP setting. IMO without this enabled the ML sound is horrible.
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Old 03-09-13, 08:13 PM   #30
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Agree. DSP is a must with the ML.
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