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My OEM Car System has ruined HiFi for me. Thoughts?

Philbo King

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Listening while driving, the sound system in our Rav4 sounds great. But I think the freq response is tailored to match the noise floor of the vehicle (heavily weighted toward a pink noise profile) as measured by the Kewlsoft spectrum analyser (Droid phone app).
Listening to music while parked the bass is kinda overwhelming.
 

Ibanez

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And that car system is probably fully active, no passive filters at all, and time alignment on every speaker invidiually in the sytstem, and that can be an big part of the immersivenss you are experiencing, if you boiuld an multi-amped multi-way speaker setup at home you will have the same start to compete with the cars sound, and as many had written, an correctly acoustic threated room is a must for that, and an dedicated romm at home is a must to even start with. I had the same experience before, with my Pioneer P88rsII and active setup in the car, much more engaging and fun to listen to, but as soon as I started to sell out my HT stuff and TV and going all in 2-channel with active setup I started to get better than in my car. But your Mark Levinson Leexus system is really really good, so, compete with that at home can be a bit costly and very time consuming.
 
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Listening while driving, the sound system in our Rav4 sounds great. But I think the freq response is tailored to match the noise floor of the vehicle (heavily weighted toward a pink noise profile) as measured by the Kewlsoft spectrum analyser (Droid phone app).
Listening to music while parked the bass is kinda overwhelming.

I think you think too highly of how much thought has gone in the stock sound system of your Toyota.. :)
 

kemmler3D

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I think you think too highly of how much thought has gone in the stock sound system of your Toyota.. :)
I wouldn't be so sure. Automotive acoustic engineering is one of the biggest segments of the acoustic engineering world, and car companies do put a lot of time and energy into the acoustic environment within the car. After all, if you are going to make a million of something, it's certainly worth a bit of effort to design them correctly*.

And Toyota is known for good/thorough engineering. It's no accident that my brother's 1997 Lexus is still going along heartily with >200K miles.

On the other hand, weak bass being filled in by road noise could easily be a coincidence, something inherent to the nature of low frequencies. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did tune things based on the road noise profile, either.

*This also makes me think... very few high-end audio components are produced in quantities that most mainstream cars are. So this means that pretty much any Toyota is technically a more popular stereo system than whatever we have in our homes. Odd to think about it that way...
 

terfenol-D

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The Mark Levinson system in my Lexus is outstanding as well. it’s well worth the upgrade. Other cars that have good systems I’ve owned included Volvo B&W system (best system by a wide margin…too bad the rest of the car was a dumpster fire) and Mercedes Burrmeister system. Ford’s B&O system is garbage.
 
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I wouldn't be so sure. Automotive acoustic engineering is one of the biggest segments of the acoustic engineering world, and car companies do put a lot of time and energy into the acoustic environment within the car. After all, if you are going to make a million of something, it's certainly worth a bit of effort to design them correctly*.

And Toyota is known for good/thorough engineering. It's no accident that my brother's 1997 Lexus is still going along heartily with >200K miles.

On the other hand, weak bass being filled in by road noise could easily be a coincidence, something inherent to the nature of low frequencies. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did tune things based on the road noise profile, either.

*This also makes me think... very few high-end audio components are produced in quantities that most mainstream cars are. So this means that pretty much any Toyota is technically a more popular stereo system than whatever we have in our homes. Odd to think about it that way...

A Rav 4 need no comparison to a Lexus. A Rav 4 is a SUV Corolla. And if you've driven one, you'd probably agree than they didn't spend much time on the sound system and if you've driven older generations you'll realise that they never have.. Not in this segment.

I've previously worked in the automotive industry ten years. The run-of-the-mill segment rarely get any love in the audio design. Especially Toyota audio is worse than a Ford at the same price bracket.
 
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BullBuchanan

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The Mark Levinson system in my Lexus is outstanding as well. it’s well worth the upgrade. Other cars that have good systems I’ve owned included Volvo B&W system (best system by a wide margin…too bad the rest of the car was a dumpster fire) and Mercedes Burrmeister system. Ford’s B&O system is garbage.
Curious about the McIntosh systems in the new Jeeps too.
 
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BullBuchanan

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A Rav 4 need no comparison to a Lexus. A Rav 4 is a SUV Corolla. And if you've driven one, you'd probably agree than they didn't spend much time on the sound system and if you've driven older generations you'll realise that they never have.. Not in this segment.

I've previously worked in the automotive industry ten years. The run-of-the-mill segment rarely get any love in the audio design. Especially Toyota audio is worse than a Ford at the same price bracket.
Lexus is made by Toyota, it's just brand sold to a different segment, but they share a ton of engineering, manufacturing and design principles. They may not put as much money into a RAV-4 as an RX-350, but I would expect it to share quite a bit
 

Prana Ferox

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Things a car stereo system tends to do right:
- Actually get loud enough, which tends to just feel obnoxious in any kind of condo / apartment/ house shared with a non-enthusiast / small children
- Actually have appropriate levels and extensions of bass, helped significantly by the room gain of a small sealed space

If you actually turn the volume up enough and you actually have enough bass (which you're not going to get from an average bookshelf setup) you can get there in the home
 

Sparkles

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I've come to a realization that my Mark Levinson OEM audio system in my 2015 Lexus RC-350 sounds drastically more enjoyable than any of my home audio HiFi setups.
I had a similar experience with a Tesla. The sound had startling attack in the mid range and that started a home hifi upgrade journey.

Many people post that electronics is "solved" now and I largely agree. I'm solely digital and mostly via TV so here is where I am:

Streamer + DSP/DAC + Purifi power amp in 2.1 with TV.

Done. But not totally bored as REW and Dirac remain an outlet for tinkering with sound.
 

pablolie

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In the car, everything is predictable, and the sound system is a complete package tuned for this predictable situation. The "room" is quite damped acoustically...
I disagree with that. I dont care if you drive a Rolls. The basic noise levels are.unavoidable and negate any advantage. Hence we can tell "ambitioned" car systems from two blocks away. Ugh.

I would say that if you think your car system is better than your home setup, you probably have a suboptimal home environment.
 

Kvalsvoll

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I disagree with that. I dont care if you drive a Rolls. The basic noise levels are.unavoidable and negate any advantage. Hence we can tell "ambitioned" car systems from two blocks away. Ugh.

I would say that if you think your car system is better than your home setup, you probably have a suboptimal home environment.
Not exactly what I meant, quite opposite, never been a fan of hifi in a car, really.

Comment on "benefits" only applies to a car that is not moving. Some cars have less noise, sure, but still very high noise floor compared to average home. My car is useless for any decent quality sound anyways, after a day on the autobahn you are literally deaf..
 

pablolie

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Not exactly what I meant, quite opposite, never been a fan of hifi in a car, really.

Comment on "benefits" only applies to a car that is not moving. Some cars have less noise, sure, but still very high noise floor compared to average home. My car is useless for any decent quality sound anyways, after a day on the autobahn you are literally deaf..
My car has a decent system, but unless the engine is turned off the system is good boombox quality. It also cost like 2k, ridiculous for the ultimate experience but hey. :)
 

pablolie

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Better in at least some respects surely possible?
I honestly think that anytime anywhere a half optimized home system is a better environment. At least that is my experience. And while I prefer motorcycles, my cars have always been pretty good.
 

Sparkles

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I honestly think that anytime anywhere a half optimized home system is a better environment. At least that is my experience. And while I prefer motorcycles, my cars have always been pretty good.
Agree. As a listening environment a car is poor esp. at speed.

Yet some aspects of car systems are unique and provoking.

Maybe it's the near field effect, or instrument separation with many speakers at different heights. Often there is a quality to good car systems aside from the overall environment that surprises.
 

Sparkles

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I honestly think that anytime anywhere a half optimized home system is a better environment. At least that is my experience. And while I prefer motorcycles, my cars have always been pretty good.
Are you hooked up to sound on the motorcycle?
 
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