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Speaker upgrades

 
Old 03-12-19, 07:09 AM
  #1  
camfused
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Default Speaker upgrades

Like many of you, I am dissatisfied with the stock (premium 8 speaker, nav, non-ML) sound. The sound is blah, and the bass is boomy. I would have expected better in this level of car, but whatever...I guess Lexus just wants to push the ML system. That was not a choice on the particular pre-owned 2017 ES350 I bought.

I did go to a local car audio dude, and he suggested a "budget" makeover that was going to be about $1800-$2000 (speakers, and new amp). I said thanks, but no. His definition of budget is different than mine.

I have a limited budget (a few hundred $$$ or so) for this project, and I am thinking the most cost-effective approach is to change the speakers out. I will probably be doing this sometime in the next month or so. I have seen threads like this: https://www.clublexus.com/forums/es-...placement.html, which are very helpful.

I think I will do the 3 dash speakers first, then the front door ones, and then maybe the rear door ones. I don't think I will try to swap out the subwoofer in the rear deck.

I don't know what I am talking about, but it seems like a good idea to buy all the speakers from the same manufacturer and series, for consistency of sound. For instance, the Kicker 44KSC series. I could get the 4" ones for the two dash corners and one dash center, and the 6x9" ones for the two front doors.

Any comments on the Kickers? Any better series I should be looking at? Total would currently be about $310 for those 5 speakers. My music taste is eclectic: classical, rock, big-band, country, etc. I like tight, not-boomy bass, and clarity of instruments and voices.

Has anyone found dash wiring adapters, where I would not need to snip wires?

Did anyone ever figure out whether the amp sends only mids and/or highs to the dash speakers? And, full-range to the door speakers?

I would appreciate input/recommendations from y'all. Thanks.

Last edited by camfused; 03-12-19 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 03-12-19, 02:55 PM
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I've started looking myself and two places I have talked to said to just disconnect the center dash speaker, no need to replace it. Just do the two outside dash and front door speakers.
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Old 03-12-19, 07:14 PM
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camfused
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Ok, but doesn't the nav or something come through the center dash speaker too? I suppose I/we could try this approach and see if it works ok.

Also, after more research, and listening to the Crutchfield sample sounds (I hope they are somewhat accurate), I am now leaning towards the Infinity Reference speakers. Their sound seems to be more refined and clearer in the samples than the Kickers. The previous generation Infinity Reference series is currently on
Amazon Amazon
for $44.75/pair for the 4", $72/pair for the 3-way 6x9", and $46.95 for the 6.5" shallows (rear doors). I doubt there is much difference between the current generation and the previous one.

So, new approximate cost (if we stick with the 3 dash and 2 front door speakers) would be $162, plus $21 for door mounting brackets and wires.

Last edited by camfused; 03-12-19 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 03-12-19, 07:40 PM
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i'm looking to upgrade the 3 dash + subwoofer speakers as well.

i have not done any care audio since 2004. Last time i did it was on a 2000 nissan maxima, i did complete audio (components + coax + amp + 2 subs in trunk)+ 5 lcd monitors + in dash nav/dvd + ps2. if i remember correctly it all came out about $6k

now, i'm about to be 40, no more crazy audio. i've always been satisfied with stock audio from previous cars since. but holy crap does the sound system of the stock 6th gen ES suck!

i listen to traffic and news every morning on my commute to work. I cannot HEAR the voices clearly on AM HD radio. For music is not the worse thing i've heard, but it's quite lacking in every way.

now i just gotta do some research on the stock amp's capabilities as i'm not looking to spend too much money. Like the OP, i'm looking to spend maybe $300~$400 for the 3 speakers + replacing stock sub.

i hope there are direct sub replacements.

As for speakers, it sucks that all 4" speakers come in pairs.i'll have 1 speaker left over haha.

BTW, doers anyone know the stock sound system full specs? ohms, amp specs, etc
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Old 03-12-19, 07:44 PM
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I *think* I read somewhere that the doors and dash corners are 4 ohms, and the center dash is 5 ohms. Not sure about the subwoofer.

When I was at the shop for the guy that tried to sell me the $1800-$2000 "budget" upgrade, he did a test and determined that the stock amp was "better than average", and that distortion was not kicking in until at the 4/5ths volume level. FYI, in case any of that helps.

Last edited by camfused; 03-12-19 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 03-12-19, 08:22 PM
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Are you going to install yourself?
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Old 03-13-19, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dspcap View Post
Are you going to install yourself?
the 3 dash speakers are not that hard to get to. Swapping speakers is a matter of finding the right wiring harness. The rear deck sub is easily accesible via the trunk.

now, the door speakers is a whole different ballgame. i'm not skilled enough to remove the door trim without breaking anything. So the door speakers will stay as-is.

this is my plan
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Old 03-13-19, 05:15 AM
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I also plan on doing it myself. For the door speakers, I will follow the post here. This
and
look helpful too. If I get in over my head, i'll see if a local shop can bail me out.

Here is some good pictures of installs too.

Last edited by camfused; 03-13-19 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 03-13-19, 05:34 AM
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Source for the adapters needed for mounting in the front doors: http://www.car-speaker-adapters.com/items.php?id=SAK095. There are 3 sizes, depending on which speaker you are trying to install.

Crutchfield says the Metra 82-8149 (if using 6x9) can be used for the front door, and the Metra 82-8148 for the rear (6.5"). In the post I referenced in the previous post, notabot said the Metras did not fit, so maybe we better stick with the SAK095s.

Also, I think I will go ahead and change out the center dash speaker. For $44.95, it is not that much more, and if *anything* comes through the center speaker, it should sound better than the stock one.

Last edited by camfused; 03-13-19 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 03-13-19, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by camfused View Post
Source for the adapters needed for mounting in the front doors: http://www.car-speaker-adapters.com/items.php?id=SAK095. There are 3 sizes, depending on which speaker you are trying to install.

Crutchfield says the Metra 82-8149 (if using 6x9) can be used for the front door, and the Metra 82-8148 for the rear (6.5"). In the post I referenced in the previous post, notabot said the Metras did not fit, so maybe we better stick with the SAK095s.

Also, I think I will go ahead and change out the center dash speaker. For $44.95, it is not that much more, and if *anything* comes through the center speaker, it should sound better than the stock one.
godspeed my man!
please take some pics so that the rest of us have an easier time ^^
i'm planning to do mine when the weather gets over 70 degrees.
i swapped all my headlight bulbs, highbeam and fogs last week. it was cold as a brick, i'm too old for this. 70 degrees or no work on the car LOL
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Old 03-21-19, 07:58 AM
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does anyone know if the stock non ML audio system has crossover capacitors for the dash speakers?

i went ahead and purchased a pair of infinity ref3022cfx 3.5" speakers, they seemed like the best bang under $60. They came with capacitors that block out low frequency, but i want to make sure if this is already done by the stock system.

i wanted as much plug and play as possible, so i purchased 2 sets of these to tinker with:

Amazon Amazon

i believe these will fit the stock harness with a bit of plastic cutting.

if it fails, i think i'm going to cut the wire harness out of the stock speakers and use that harness instead.

i don't mind the stock stereo that much for listening to cd and mp3. But AM radio is impossible to listen to the VOICES.
I have to listen to 1010wins for news, traffic, and weather every morning. Those of you living in the NY tri-state area will know what i mean, 1010wins is a must for commuters. I can barelly hear any voices due to the high in cabin wind noise in my ES (which is quite dissapointing considering is a god darn luxury car).
Hopefully these speakers will give me clearer voices for am radio. If they are good, i'll probably order another set for the center dash.
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Old 03-21-19, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexNY View Post
does anyone know if the stock non ML audio system has crossover capacitors for the dash speakers?

i went ahead and purchased a pair of infinity ref3022cfx 3.5" speakers, they seemed like the best bang under $60. They came with capacitors that block out low frequency, but i want to make sure if this is already done by the stock system.

i wanted as much plug and play as possible, so i purchased 2 sets of these to tinker with:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

i believe these will fit the stock harness with a bit of plastic cutting.

if it fails, i think i'm going to cut the wire harness out of the stock speakers and use that harness instead.

i don't mind the stock stereo that much for listening to cd and mp3. But AM radio is impossible to listen to the VOICES.
I have to listen to 1010wins for news, traffic, and weather every morning. Those of you living in the NY tri-state area will know what i mean, 1010wins is a must for commuters. I can barelly hear any voices due to the high in cabin wind noise in my ES (which is quite dissapointing considering is a god darn luxury car).
Hopefully these speakers will give me clearer voices for am radio. If they are good, i'll probably order another set for the center dash.
How old is your ES? I know mine being a 2018, itís still brand new and dead quiet - no wind noise at all, so Iím surprised with your statement on this.
Also, you can adjust the mids and highs for your AM reception, that should make the voices much clearer. The equalizer is separate for each source so this shouldnít affect your other listening.
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Old 03-21-19, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by OBLexus View Post

How old is your ES? I know mine being a 2018, itís still brand new and dead quiet - no wind noise at all, so Iím surprised with your statement on this.
Also, you can adjust the mids and highs for your AM reception, that should make the voices much clearer. The equalizer is separate for each source so this shouldnít affect your other listening.
2015 with luxury package. Front windows are single pane. Considerable amount of wind noise when going 60mph on highway. Extremely surprised by this.

the 3 levels of adjustment really do not do much. i tried both surround on and off, on seems to make voices clearer. as far as treble, mid and bass, it helps a bit but i still want clearer voice sounds.

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Old 03-21-19, 10:25 AM
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I see - I have the double pane windows - probably it makes that difference.
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Old 03-21-19, 02:22 PM
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Ok, a progress report. I have replaced the 3 dash speakers and the 2 rear door speakers. I am waiting for a part (the ring adapters) for the 2 front door speakers.

I gotta first say hats off to member notabot! You rock for posting instructions and pics from when you did your speaker upgrades. I followed his instructions for:I ordered the following from Amazon:
$ 89.36 - 2 pair of Infinity REF-4022cfx 4" speakers
$ 72.00 - 1 pair of Infinity REF-9623ix 6x9" speakers, for front doors
$ 45.00 - 1 pair of Infinity REF-6522EX 6.5" speakers, for rear doors
$ 5.83 - Pry tool set
$ 8.99 - 2 pair of Metra 72-4568 wire adapters. These were used for the dash speakers.
$ 8.99 - 2 pair of Metra 72-8104 wire adapters. These were used for the front and rear speakers.
$ 15.36 - Metra 82-8148 speaker adapters for the rear speakers

I also ordered the SAK095 speaker adapter, for $36.44, from http://www.car-speaker-adapters.com/items.php?id=SAK095.
Update: I ordered this adapter on 16 March. I realized today (22 March) that I never did receive an email confirming this order. I tried to contact the company via phone, and 2 email addresses, but no response. Therefore, I am going to work with PayPal to try and get my money back. I have ordered the Metra 82-8149 adapter from Amazon for $18.22 instead. I think this will fit for the front door speakers.

Total project cost was: $282 $264

Install notes, so far (additional comments and pics from notabot's instructions):

Front Dash Speakers
- It is kind of tight working on the dash speakers. The windscreen is constantly in the way, and visibility is marginal. I frequently got out of the car and looked through the windscreen to see what I was doing.
- I used the small splunger (in fact so far I have only used that one) in that pry tool set. First with curve down to get the edge up, and then flipped over with the curve up to get the panels up the rest of the way. Pretty easy actually to get the panels up.
- The existing wire connector to the speakers is hard to get off the first time. You hold a locking tab down and slide it out, but it took me awhile to do the first one.
- The speakers came with 4 lugs, but you only need 2. I tried to fold 2 of them over, but that did not work. I then tried to break them off, and that did not work. I then got out the hacksaw and sawed them off. That worked pretty good. I was leery of getting too close to the rubber with the saw, but somehow managed to not cut the rubber up.
- The Metra 72-4568 wire adapters are for GM cars, but with some modification, you can get them to work. See notabot's instructions.
- The + on the new speaker is the white wire, and the - is the black wire. On the car-attached connector, the + is the side with the little key slot, which is black. So, I had to non-intuitively attach the connectors so that the colors did not match, but + to +.
- The first dash speaker took me 1.5 hours. The 2nd and 3rd ones took 5-7 mins each.

Now some pics:


Splunger kit, with my hand as a reference. Only used the small one, so far.


Upper left is stock corner dash speaker. Upper right is stock center dash speaker. Infinity 4" speaker, and the GM wire adapters (before modification)


Same speakers flipped over


Dash speaker after using the hacksaw. I did not file them smooth, because why bother, and no extra metal shavings.


Another view after using the hacksaw


What I sawed off


The GM connector before and after clipping the plastic away with wire cutters. You really just want the two metal prongs to stick out by themselves.


Another view of the connector after surgery


Sawed speaker, with modified wire adapter, all ready to be mounted.


When you plug the adapters together, there will be a gap, but no big deal. I wrapped in electrical tape to hold it all together.

Rear Door Speakers
- Pretty much like notabot's instructions
- I used the hand cut-out area to grip the bottom of the door to pull it from the connectors.
- I used the small splunger for the little panels and such.
- But, it took an hour to get the 1st door back on. Wow, it was scary and extremely frustrating. The 2nd door took 5 mins to get back on. I think the trick was to rock it on the top from front to back, and to roll the window down, but I was sweating the 2nd one. I hope the front doors are easier!

Verdict so far:
- About as hard/easy as I thought it would be. Definitely doable, if you prepare, and use notabot's instructions. I hope my additions help someone.
- As for the sound, most of the sound comes through the front door speakers, so I have not really experienced the change yet. Having said that, I did one side of the dash, then did a comparison. The Infinity side definitely sounded brighter and clearer. Way different. I also did a comparison with the rear door speakers and heard a similar positive change.

Hopefully, I will get the front door adapters soon, so I can tackle them.

Last edited by camfused; 03-22-19 at 04:44 PM.
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