Audio Upgrade Options - Page 2 - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#11 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by simondav View Post
I drove my brothers CX7 recently and was really surprised at how good the sound system was verses my rav4. Gladly it was about the only thing that impressed me, but I have decided I have to upgrade the audio. After reading through a number of posts i am uncertain as to what will deliver best bang for my buck.

I have a navigation version of the oem unit, car dvd players and don't want to replace that. A few others have had similar requirements noted in these forums and it seems that other than a head unit upgrade there are at least three options:

1. Replace the speakers - the results from what I have read on this forum are ok.
2. Replace the speakers along with adding a clean sweep unit and amp - but possibly relatively complicated and expensive

3. Add an amp and subwoofer, either with or without replacing the other speakers (I could not figure out if the head unit on a 2009 Rav4 v6 has a sub out)?

I would love to hear what people have done to improve the sound in their car, and the improvement it made (or not!).
I have not improved but looking to improve. SO what is your thought?

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#12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 07:05 AM
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Well, the safe option seems to go with a speaker upgrade first and see if I am happy with that. If not, I will add a cleansweep unit, amp and sub.
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#13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 08:54 AM
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Well, the safe option seems to go with a speaker upgrade first and see if I am happy with that. If not, I will add a cleansweep unit, amp and sub.
I debated between a speaker upgrade and replacing the head unit. Ultimately I decided to start with the head unit mainly because I wanted to add navigation.

I went with the Kenwood DNX6990HD. This is a great unit if you're willing to spend a little more money. The installation is surprisingly simple especially if you get all the wiring harnesses. You will find plenty of information on this forum and You Tube to show you how to do the installation yourself. This was the first stereo installation I did myself.

I expanded my installation as I went and included a USB hub from Amazon so I could have a USB port mounted in the dash to make map/firmware updates and charge USB devices while also using the Kenwood iPod cable. I mounted the hub under the dash and installed the USB port in one of the dummy plates next to the 12 volt outlet under the radio. Looks like it came from the factory.

Since the 2013 models are coming out now, I've seen the DNX6990 as low as $719 which is a great price. I paid $900 at Crutchfield back in early December.

Here's my system and what I paid:

1. Kenwood DNX6990HD - $900
2. Metra ASWC steering wheel control - $70
3. Sirius XM SXV200V1 tuner - $70 ($20 after you get a $50 rebate from Sirius)
4. SFA12F XM adapter cable - $60 on eBay. This cable plugs into your factory XM antenna so you don't need to put the XM antenna that comes with the tuner on the roof.
5. Kenwood KCA-iP202 iPod cable - $30
6. PAC USB extension cable - $20
7. Amazon Basics 4 port USB hub - $9

The main reason I went with this navigation unit is because the GPS is made by Garmin so it looks and works just like a portable Garmin unit. It's very user friendly and much better than the factory system I have in my other Toyotas. And the sound quality is much improved. I was surprised how much better the factory speakers sound with this new unit. My wife no longer complains about the sound in her RAV4 so I probably won't need to upgrade the speakers now.
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#14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:35 PM
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Some Pics Please

Could you post some pics of the USB installation. Specificlly of the USB connection in the blank. How do you secure the plug in the blank to make it secure. I am assumeing you used the hub so you can have multiple USBs connections into the radio at once so you do not have to swap every time you need to do something.
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#15 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 05:47 PM
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Before considering spending a lot of money on equipment and feeding the sound through the stock speakers, take a look at the stock units out of my 2012. The magnets are tiny, the cones are cheap paper, the baskets are plastic. The tweeters are not even Radio Shack quality.

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2012 V6 4WD Ltd.

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#16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by grmuller View Post
Could you post some pics of the USB installation. Specificlly of the USB connection in the blank. How do you secure the plug in the blank to make it secure. I am assumeing you used the hub so you can have multiple USBs connections into the radio at once so you do not have to swap every time you need to do something.
Here's a picture. I drilled a hole through the blank next to the 12v power, fed the cable through the hole to the back side, and then pressed the USB connector into the hole. I don't remember if the hole I drilled was 3/4" or 7/8". It was small enough that it was a slight press fit. It definitely won't come out.

Yes I use the USB hub so I can have multiple things plugged into the radio. The USB cable from the hub plugs into the female cable from the radio. Then I have the Kenwood iPod cable and the the PAC USB cable plugged into the USB hub. So now I can plug in my iPhone or iPod to the Kenwood cable to play music and movies on the Kenwood. I use the USB hub in the console for charging USB devices and to make Garmin map updates and firmware updates. Without the hub, I'd have to take the dash apart each time I needed to make those updates.

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#17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 09:56 PM
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Iphone cable

Where did you run the Iphone cable too?
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#18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 10:01 PM
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Where did you run the Iphone cable too?
I ran the Kenwood KCA-iP202 iPod cable into the glove compartment so I can plug in my iPhone or iPod right there.
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#19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 01:16 PM
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I have only replaced the head unit so far (with an Alpine 133-BT) and I can tell you that it made a huge difference, even leaving the stock speakers.

One of the reasons I'm so confident about this opinion is that my wife also has a RAV4.3 and I'm really amazed how bad her system sounds every time I drive in her car. It's a much flatter/muddier sound with the stock head unit.

The head unit replacement is easy. I would recommend making this purchase from Crutchfield as they give you the master sheet with all the step by step instructions.

My next upgrade will be the speakers, but I'm having a really tough time picking speakers. The easy choice are the Alpine SPS-610C's which are designed to work great with no amp, but I really want to buy some premium speakers, like the Alpine R's. The problem is that everyone says you pretty much have to get an amp to drive premium speakers. Premium speakers + amp + install + maybe subwoofer = lots of cash.
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#20 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 10:56 PM
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I agree the stock speakers don't sound bad. My wife would never have complained if I left it stock, but I have the musician's curse; I hear every flaw and need to correct it or it keeps bugging me.

JBL, Infinity, and others make 2 ohm high efficiency 6.5" speakers that will fit the door cutouts in our cars with adapters. The lower impedance lets the amp deliver more power into the load, and higher efficiency produces more sound per watt.

I went with Infinity Reference 6.30cs in front and JBL P622s in the back. Total $210. The sound was very much improved, and by cutting the bass with the HU tone control it was almost good enough, but not loud enough. I had planned on possibly adding an amp, so I chose these speakers that are rated 55w/75w rms. They are at least as efficient as the lower power rated speakers, so they were a good first step to see if better speakers would be enough improvement without the complexity of adding an amp.

I think the real reason some people would say you still need an amp with good speakers is that with the amp you would also likely add EQ to remove the HU bass boost that will still make your good speakers sound muddy.

2012 V6 4WD Ltd.

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