Toyota RAV4 Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to upgrade my RAV4 speakers. Are there any suggestions or pitfalls to avoid?

WHAT I HAVE NOW (vehicle 2012 RAV4 Limited V6 AWD)

- Factory Head Unit marked P10296 on the face-plate. I think this HU was made by Pioneer. All the features on the HU work properly - no complaints. I'm content with my HU, but I'm open to upgrade suggestions. My back-up camera works through the rear-view mirror, and I'm good with that. All my steering wheel controls work.

- 2 factory tweeter speakers mounted high in the front door. From reading, these speakers also include crossovers. There is a 4-wire plug on each speakers (2 inputs from head, 2 outputs to the woofer)

- 2 factory woofer speakers mounted low in the front doors, said to be 6-1/2" speakers, 2 wire.

- 2 factory woofer speakers mounted low in the rear doors, also said to be ~ 6-1/2", 2 wire.

- Is there any other audio component of which I'm unaware?

STEP 1- INITIAL PLAN - 2 NEW FRONT DOOR WOOFERS
At a minimum, I would like to upgrade the 2 factory woofer speakers in the front doors.
  • Does the HU have enough power to support better speakers without overheating the HU?
  • Or, do I need to add in an amp?
  • Even if not necessary, would an add-on amp be really beneficial - worth the extra effort? Where would it be mounted?
  • Any specific aftermarket woofer speaker recommendations?
  • Best 'low power usage' speakers if power is an issue?
  • Do I need to add a new crossover(s) if I don't mess with the tweeters?

STEP 2 - 2 NEW FRONT DOOR TWEETERS
Upgrading the 2 factory tweeter speakers would be good
  • That will require new crossovers, right?
  • Any after-market tweeter speaker recommendations?
  • Any crossover recommendations?
  • Should this really be part of STEP 1? That is, upgrade the tweeters at same time as front door woofers?

REAR DOOR WOOFERS
  • Are they worth the effort to upgrade?
  • If 'yes', any particular speakers that work well in this position?
  • Any power issues? Other issues?

EXTRA WIRING AND ACCESSORIES
  • I will probably need 2 speaker mounts for the front door woofers. Any mounts work better than others?
  • If new tweeters, can I simply 'gut' the old tweeter mounts and re-use them?
  • If rear door speaker upgrades, then I'll need new mounts there, too
  • Wire harness for each front door woofer (and maybe rear door woofer). I can solder connections, but I don't mind buying conversion harnesses.
  • Is there a wire harness fixer-upper if I keep (or lose) the factory tweeters?

Have I missed anything? Thank you, to those who have so bravely gone before me :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
922 Posts
I had initially upgraded the factory 6.5" speakers to a pair 6.5" Pioneers shown here while still maintaining the factory radio. The factory tweeters are wired in series with the front door speakers with in-line capacitors as high-pass filters and were reused, thus, really making the Pioneers' tweeters non-functional. The factory radio didn't overheat, but eventually upgraded to a modern aftermarket headunit with a better built-in amp and sound output. Two months ago, I did add a 4-channel Alpine amp to drive the speakers and that made a big improvement. Shortly after that, I swapped out the PIonners and upgraded to the JBL GTO speakers.

I would recommend to swap the front speakers to a component set without going through the coax route like I had. I did use the factory wiring up to the tweeters and gone through the effort in wiring up the components. Unless you want to change to components for the rears, a coax set can drop in easily. I probably could have reused the factory mounts once the factory speakers were removed, the holes may not line up, but you can always make them work, however, I made my own mounts out of solid wood.

The JBL GTO speakers are rated at 3-ohm, which an aftermarket amp should be able to drive. The factory radio is only rated for 4-ohm, so you may want to look for aftermarket speakers with that rating. As for brands, it depends on how much you want to spend, these JBL GTO were more on the lower price point. Other brands I had looked at included Polk, MB Quart, Infinity, Rockford Fosgate, to name a few and there are more expensive sets such Dynaudio and Focal, which would really need an aftermarket amp to drive them well.

The 2012 Limited trim is fortunate to NOT have the factory JBL option, so you have more flexible and integration options. I did most of my upgrades during the past year or so just to keep my sanity whenever I had time while I WFH, but were done in stages, not all at once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would recommend to swap the front speakers to a component set without going through the coax route like I had. <snip>

The JBL GTO speakers are rated at 3-ohm, which an aftermarket amp should be able to drive.
Okay, so something like the JBL GTO 609C or the JBL Club6500C - both are component sets. Both are 3-ohm, so will the factory HU have enough power? I did a bit of reading on this, and it would seem the 3-ohm speakers would be easier to drive than the original 4-ohm speakers - so less strain and heat at the HU. Have I got this backwards? There are plenty of 4-ohm aftermarket speakers available.

I notice there is a separate JBL crossover box for either JBL set - and it may have a tweeter volume control (the control is in there somewhere - on the box or on the tweeter - not sure). If this box is mounted behind the door panel, is it 'set it and forget it'? Or, is there a better place to mount it - maybe inside one of the door cubbies? Or is there a volume control on a tether to mount somewhere?

You mentioned Polk. I've used Polk Audio speakers before - really the 'standard of the industry' - good solid products. Their DB6501C seems to be their competing product to the GTO 609C. It's rated at 4-ohms. Would this be better (less heat) for the existing HU?

Sorry for so many questions. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
922 Posts
You have it backwards, having a lower impedance speaker will cause the headunit/amp to work harder since the current draw will be higher for the same power output. The higher current draw will cause the more heat output.

The GTO 609C crossover was small enough to fit/wedge behind the door panel. Originally, I was using two layers of Gorilla-brand double-sided tape to hold it down, but that didn't work since the adhesive would loose its effectiveness over time due to temperature and vibration. So I found a way to secure the crossover to the existing mounting holes. You'll need to determine how to mount the crossover from the set you want to purchase.

The silver part on the 609C crossover is actually a switch to set the tweeter gain setting at either 0db (default) or +3dB (depressed), but the cut-off frequencies are fixed. Although the Alpine amp has its own crossover network, I left it at full range setting. My Pioneer headunit also has digital crossover cut-off and roll-off settings as well, so I can adjust them as needed.

The Polk DB series are nice, as well as the MM series, you can't go wrong with them and the factory headunit would likely not be overworked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,058 Posts
vehicle 2012 RAV4 Limited V6 AWD
The "Limited" has usually the JBL system - a dedicated amplifier for the six channels plus subwoofer, located on the rear right trunk panel. The crossover for the front speakers is done digitally inside that amp and the power chips in that amp (TDA 7560) can handle 3 ohms very well. The HU does not drive anything hard.
On the flip side, putting those two way speakers in the front doors is useless. The lower speakers don't get anything above 600 Hz, because of the digital cross-over.

If you don't have the JBL system, then the HU will drive those speakers and probably will overload/overheat. They usually start limiting in that case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The "Limited" has usually the JBL system - a dedicated amplifier for the six channels plus subwoofer, located on the rear right trunk panel. The crossover for the front speakers is done digitally inside that amp and the power chips in that amp (TDA 7560) can handle 3 ohms very well. The HU does not drive anything hard.
On the flip side, putting those two way speakers in the front doors is useless. The lower speakers don't get anything above 600 Hz, because of the digital cross-over.
I don't have the JBL system (or, if I do, someone has peeled off all the JBL labels :)

I am seriously thinking about adding an underseat sub-woofer, perhaps even before tinkering with the front speakers. In other vehicles, I've used Kenwood KSC-SW11 underseat units in the past with very good results. They work best (and are much easier to install) with low-level outputs on the HU (or amp or somewhere). Otherwise, you have to tap across both front speaker wires. It's do-able, but not my first choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
I'm a big fan of Pioneer head units. Had them in my cars for years, switched to Kenwood when I originally got my Rav4 and then just recently updated it back to a new Pioneer HU. I'm super happy to have that brand back in my dash. For one thing Pioneer still has the best radio tuner in the business, it pulls in fringe signals like nothing else and their HD Radio section is also excellent. I still use radio quite a bit and I really missed Pioneer's performance for the past few years while I had the Kenwood.

My new HU also has wireless Android Audio and wireless Apple Carplay, and it works beautifully. When I start the car, Waze (my preference) quickly pops up on the monitor and Spotify (also my preference) picks up where it left off. It's seamless, don't even have to plug in my phone or tap to connect it.

Sound quality wise, the Pioneer is very quiet with no electrical noise bleeding through any source, and on my model you can connect a $20 calibration mic and it will set up an auto-EQ curve and time alignment that worked like a charm for me. I had to bump up the subwoofer level after running the calibration but other than that, the system sounds more accurate than I've ever heard it. For reference I'm an audio producer by trade for 30 years.

As for your questions about amps, how loud do you want to play your music? If you listen at normal playback levels and you just want improved sound quality and detail, the built-in amps on most good brand name aftermarket HUs will probably be adequate. That, combined with good speakers, will be a major improvement over Toyota's factory system. You can keep your factory wiring and still add a powered sub. If you happen to get a system with auto-calibration capability you might be surprised how good that will sound.

If you really want to crank it up, especially if you listen to bass-heavy hip hop, you'll need to install amps and upgraded speaker wiring. That's more money and more labor but it will get you the full blown premium car audio experience.

Either way, I would put component speakers in the front door and coaxials in the rear door. The rear speakers just provide fill and as long as they cover the full frequency range there's no need to go overboard upgrading them to component tweeters. I'm still using CDT speakers that I installed in my Rav4 when it was new in 2007, and they still sound great, so it's been years since I looked into who is making good car speakers now and I can't make any recommendations there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,058 Posts
The advantage of a remote installed amp is that it can sustain loud musing longer without overheating. The outside panel of the car will get warm.
The HU, when used to drive the speakers, and sits crammed inside the dash, will build up heat and go into thermal limiting when pushed. That will limit the audio power.
In my Limited with JBL I have replaced the front 2" "tweeters" with 3-1/2" JBL 326 GTO extended range speakers.
Based on my measurements from before the change, the original system was terrible, not linear at all. Had a dip around 2kHz, a max at about 9kHz, that probably is fine for people streaming compressed rap musing (Spotify source), but I hated it for my rock-pop FLAC files. Heck, I could hear it even on SiriusXM satellite radio (and that's not a great source either).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
Based on my measurements from before the change, the original system was terrible, not linear at all.
Yeah I don't know about the JBL system but the regular Toyota radio was atrocious. It had some kind of built-in "loudness" EQ curve that was surely meant to compensate for the deficiencies of the factory speakers, and the overall frequency response was awful.

That meant that if you upgraded just the speakers it would still sound bad because the radio was putting out such a muddy, colored sound, even the best speakers would be unable to correct it -- the old garbage-in-garbage-out addage. The only solution, at least with the non-JBL system, is to replace both the head unit and the factory speakers which were also trash.
 

·
Registered
2010 Rav4 Limited V6 Blizzard Pearl w/tan
Joined
·
24 Posts
You would be surprised how much difference an aftermarket radio makes on the factory speakers. Only down side is that due to the current chip shortage, aftermarket head units have almost doubled in price, and everywhere is low on stock.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top