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Paul B 05-20-12 03:11 PM

2012 RX 350 Premium Radio
Hello all,

As far as I can hear, there's nothing Premium about it. This is not the Mark Levinson radio, and I think the premium means there's a couple of extra speakers.

And that brings me to my problem. The speakers sound very bad, murky and not crisp sounding, almost like they have a tear in them. I don't think it's the radio itself causing the problem, but when I get up close to the front speakers, they sound very poor and hissy.

Anybody else have this problem?


MEP7557 05-20-12 03:25 PM

A lot has to do with the source of your music. I pod or usb is better than the radio, XM or sometimes even a CD. Try different sources and see if there is a difference.

Sevn86 05-20-12 03:28 PM

I know what you mean but like MEP7557 said it has alot to do with your source of music.

BertL 05-20-12 03:35 PM

Suggest you try a CD with a very consistent set of music that you know well, to establish your feeling about the sound quality, and not depend on sometimes irratic radio or even XM. USB or iPod would work if you create with high bit rate. Then take that same Source to your dealer and ask if you can try it in another vehicle. I burn a CD with sections of 3-4 songs I know well, and carry that with me when I test drive cars -- helps me in the narrow down process, and may help you in your situation now. (I have ML in my RX400h and will have it in my RX450h next month. While I felt the base was still a bit lacking on the 2012 even with ML, overall sound quality of the ML appeared better to me so I flipped for it on my upcoming ride. I specifically remember trying the base audio system in an RX which was too "tinny" and somewhat hollow for my taste, but didn't try and the 12-speaker version you have as I seem to remember.). BTW -- I have not read on the boards here over the last several months about your problem, so hopefully someone else will chime in. Good luck on your pursuit, as it appears you care about the sound quality like I do. Not everyone does for sure. I look forward to hearing what you find out.

Paul B 05-20-12 04:22 PM

I cranked up a Moody Blues CD and it made a big difference. Still not great mind you. I'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.

XM radio advertises almost CD quality, not a chance. It sounded awful.

kitlz 05-20-12 04:31 PM

Not a new problem with the RX unfortunately. I wound up changing all the speakers on the 330 and adding other things to help compensate. This time around I went with ML on the 450h to avoid going down that route again. While it's an improvement, it still lacks bass. Speakers are ok.

svofan1 05-20-12 04:36 PM

...ahhh!...I wish I had the "ear" to detect the differences in quality....unless is very obvious, I can't tell...

EZ3Putt 05-20-12 04:51 PM

My biggest disappointment with my 2012 RX is the sound system. I have the top of the line Mark Levinson in it and it is no where near as good as the Harman Kardon that was in my Mercedes E350 Cab.

cruiser 05-20-12 11:38 PM

If my 2011 RX has the 9 speakers can i just add the other 3 speakers? Where and and other auggestions? My nine speaker system sounds really poor in back.

BertL 05-21-12 05:04 AM


Originally Posted by EZ3Putt (Post 7245236) is no where near as good as the Harman Kardon that was in my Mercedes E350 Cab.

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.

Paul B 05-21-12 05:13 AM

Cruiser, by adding the 3 speakers to the 9 you have now, you will have a Lexus radio system with 12 poor speakers rather than 9 poor speakers. I don't believe you'll attain your objective of creating a better sound system.

I'm a big Lexus booster going back many years and I generally praise their virtues to everyone I know, but when it comes to their audio systems, they are sadly deficient in keeping up with what is available elsewhere, even within other Lexus models. Why this is, I don't know. I guess they just don't care.

Marqevans 05-21-12 05:23 AM

I have the 12 speakers. Does anyone know where the extra 3 are? Seems like might be in front but I am not sure.

BertL 05-21-12 05:49 AM

According to TIS, at least for 2013 RX450h here's what you get:

Standard 9-speaker system has:

1 Center (dash)
2 Tweeter (front doors)
2 Midrange (front doors)
2 Woofer (lower front doors)
2 Full Range (lower rear doors)

12-speaker system* adds:
2 Tweeter (rear doors by handles)
1 Subwoofer (drivers side rear trunk area)
*Note: other 9 speakers have same size/impedance/rating as above
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!)
2 Tweeter (front doors)
2 Midrange (front doors)
2 Woofer (lower front doors)
2 Tweeter (rear doors by handles)
2 Woofer (lower rear doors)
2 Surround (rear pillars between hatch and fixed rear side window)
1 Subwoofer (drivers side rear trunk area)
**Note: Physical size of each speaker looks the same as 12-speaker version, but impedence and rating are different for most of these, e.g. subwoofer is rated at 120W vs only 32W on 12-speaker version. Also note Lexus descriptions of "full range" speakers being used in 9 & 12 versions on lower rear doors opposed to "woofer" on the ML. Certainly appears the ML version is substantially different in number and type of speakers than standard versions.

cruiser 05-21-12 12:32 PM

Thanks for the info. Bummer i thought i could just add 3 more to the nine and have a relatively decent sound in the back without having to dump a whole lot of money. Has anybody upgraded their 9 speaker and roughly how much? Thanls once again for all the info

Marqevans 05-21-12 06:59 PM

Fade speakers all the way to back
When you fade your speakers all the way to back I think it it only picks up the speaker in the cargo area because there is very little volume. I find you have to fade at least 2 mouse clicks to the rear to get a balanced sound. Even then the center speaker up front still dominates the sound.

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