Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts
A

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How much will cost to upgrade to JBL Stereo system aftermarket?
Did any one upgrade to JBL stereo system after you bought RAV4?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I asked the dopey aftermarket guy at my dealership about it and he said it would be way to expensive. I'm looking into having some upgrades done at a car audio shop.

I've got the Limited with the 6-disc changer and I'm impressed with how it sounds. It doesn't get window shaking loud but it sounds very clean no matter what I listen too. I just wouldn't mind having that extra JBL sub... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I had called several dealers a while back to see how much it would cost and they say they the JBL system is not something they can order...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
My RAV4 came with the upgraded JBL stereo and it's not worth it. Although I don't know how the standard stereo sounds, I can't imagine that it's much worse than the JBL to where you would want to pay more for the "upgrade". FM is okay at best, and the sub doesn't seem to have a tremendous impact. Maybe it sounds better from the second row? AM sound is atrocious, to the point where I sometimes adjust the settings when I switch between AM/FM. I've also got a bum top speaker on the DS door that crackles on AM, that I'll need Toyota to replace. I'm not a huge fan of Bose, but the Bose in my Maxima was much better than the JBL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I've adjusted them all. Sure I could crank it high enough to get that too, but I should be able to tell there's a sub in the back, without having to subject myself to hearing loss to notice it.
 
R

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
CashKing said:
My RAV4 came with the upgraded JBL stereo and it's not worth it. Although I don't know how the standard stereo sounds, I can't imagine that it's much worse than the JBL to where you would want to pay more for the "upgrade". FM is okay at best, and the sub doesn't seem to have a tremendous impact. Maybe it sounds better from the second row? AM sound is atrocious, to the point where I sometimes adjust the settings when I switch between AM/FM. I've also got a bum top speaker on the DS door that crackles on AM, that I'll need Toyota to replace. I'm not a huge fan of Bose, but the Bose in my Maxima was much better than the JBL.
Interesting comments, and surprising to me. I don't know what your criteria are for "acceptable" or "good" or "great" sound are -- and you are absolutely entitled to your judgement -- but I admit I'm scratching my head over your comments.

For starters, the JBL upgrade package is literally only a few hundred dollars more on the sticker than the standard audio system. I've priced aftermarket audio components, and I believe comparable sound might actually cost thousands.

I'll preface my next comments with this: I don't think my opinion is worth any more than anyone else's, especially in this area where we all know "what we like." That being said...

I am a professional musician, and this is easily one of the finest "dealer available" sound systems I've ever heard. Perhaps it won't make the guy in the next block hear the bass on your favorite rap piece, but the basic tonal "correctness" is certainly there, with enough control of bass, mids and highs to satisfy most folks, IMO.

Your AM sound is atrocious, to the point where you "sometimes" (???) adjust the settings from your FM settings?? Well, of course!! What else is new in radio? On ANY audio system, this needs to be done, and I have also done this on my RAV's JBL system -- EXTREME adjustments, precisely because AM audio quality is so bad. And since when is ANY radio signal considered a standard by which to judge an audio system?

None of this means that I find this system without fault. The system does NOT play earth-shatteringly loud; it certainly won't match the dB level of a live rock concert. On some "classical" discs, I have to max out the system's volume to properly hear the best tonal balances and room ambience. On recordings I play with a powerful, deep bass component, the system's output is strong enough that I get some minor rattles and buzzes in the cabin. This is not *per se* a problem with the components, but with the bracing of the physical structures around the speakers, etc., and possibly other structural details of the RAV that have nothing to do with the sound system. It is also related to some minor peak frequency resonances in the system. Every audio system incorporates compromises; I just happen to like the ones chosen by these JBL engineers.

I won't argue that this system will be satisfactory to someone else. You can definitely get systems which will play higher, lower and louder, but they will DEFINITELY cost you a bundle, and there's no guarantee that if you spent a grand or two on the aftermarket, it'll sound better than the JBL system, IMO.

Another word on my perspective: I actually worked in a high-end audio salon many years ago. Again, this does NOT make me more qualified to judge, and neither does being a professional musician, necessarily: Musicians are sometimes notorious at finding low-end audio systems acceptable precisely because they can "fill in the blanks" so easily with their imaginations, because they are literally in the presence of live music many hours a day, every day. So, in one sense, ANY sound system is potentially OK, whereas in another sense, they're ALL bad, even one costing tens of thousands of dollars.

However, in one way, I do find musicians a tad better judge than others: tonal relationships. If these relationships are simply too unbalanced, they are unpleasant to a musician, even though the same sound may be "impressive" to a non-musician. In this way, I find the JBL system quite good, with a modest boost in the treble (sitting in the driver's seat), mostly for "air" that is lost in the ambient noise of an operating automobile. In playback of acoustic recordings, the bass certainly is not "weak" overall, though some frequencies exhibit a peak resonance (a minor quibble), but this is a problem with all systems in all environments, even the most expensive. The result of this minor problem is that some bass frequencies are TOO strong, from the perspective of accuracy or relative balance -- VERY typical with ANY subwoofer audio system -- but maybe "just fine" or "can't it go louder?" for someone who really wants the big kick. You won't win any competitions with this sound system, but it plays well-recorded CD quite nicely (and the FM is pretty good, IMO).

My advice to anyone who really wants to know how the JBL system sounds? Don't take our word for it (bad or good); go to the dealer, sit in the car and LISTEN to it with your favorite recordings. Then, YOU be the judge. After all, we all know "what we like!"

If you don't like it, and if you have the option of NOT taking it (this can be tricky selecting option packages, as we all know), get the basic system, tear it out, and build something from scratch -- but it will cost you a LOT more than the JBL upgrade.

My $.02
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
276 Posts
flyingn said:
great post RavRob.. Your 100% correct too
I second that and I did as RavRob suggests before taking my new RAV4 home. In fact I played my favorite selection from the Toyota CD I got with my 1994 Camry purchase. Best auto sound I've ever owned! And I am not a musician, let alone professional musician, but I've always loved good (not mind-numbingly loud) music and am very happy with my JBL :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
About the "of course you have to adjust the controls when you switch to AM". Well I have Bose in my car and I never have to adjust anything when I go back and forth from AM to FM etc.
 
R

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
JIMD4 said:
About the "of course you have to adjust the controls when you switch to AM". Well I have Bose in my car and I never have to adjust anything when I go back and forth from AM to FM etc.
Interesting. The audio differences between AM and FM sound are well-documented. Could it be that you adjusted it even ONCE, and your system "remembered" the settings (i.e. AM vs FM vs CD)? Many systems do this (the Toyota JBL system does, too). So you should actually never have to adjust it more than once.

The Bose may in fact be a better system. I'm not arguing against that possibility. My only argument here is that, for a few hundred dollars premium, I think the JBL system sounds pretty good, though this is still subject to the judgement of the individual listener. I've owned an upgraded aftermarket auto sound system, and ONE speaker alone (never mind the other speakers, the amplifier, etc.) cost more than the JBL upgrade. I'm not saying that the JBL system is in any way superlative, only expressing my opinion that it's an affordable and effective upgrade.
 
R

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
JIMD4 said:
One advantage to the JBL option for Sport is it gets you the steering wheel controls I think
You have these controls on the Limited version, too.
 
E

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
RavRob said:
JIMD4 said:
One advantage to the JBL option for Sport is it gets you the steering wheel controls I think
You have these controls on the Limited version, too.
My take on the JBL system. Comparing the JBL with the Nakamichi in my Lexus GS400, they are almost equal and that is really saying something. Also being a musician, I am critical with my audio equipment and the JBL, for the small additional cost is well worth the investment. I normally play my Video Ipod through the JBL and also my Bose Wave system and they suite my needs extremely well.
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
In the Midwest, you cannot find a V6 LTD with the JBL stereo (unless, I believe, you also want DVD and 3d row). Can't imagine what the Toyota buying group in the Midwest was thinking when they ordered that configuration. So shoppers (like me) are faced with either paying big bucks to improve the base stereo in the aftermarket or buying an LTD with JBL from an out-of-region dealer and paying shipping costs.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top