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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Well, having been tortured on a recent 2 x 6 hour trip with this severely harsh JBL system I have finally had enough. The recent kicker is that I just digitized a sampling of my CD collection and I know what they sound like on my good home system. In the RAV these CDs don't sound much better than the horrible radio.

Based on subjective listening the system is overly harsh and bright overpowering what little bass there is. Since it is not really feasible to add bass it is much easier to reduce the over powering mid-range and treble. Step 1 is going to be an *easy* mechanical modification.

I started by removing the dash speaker grilles by gently prying up the rear edge (furthest from windshield) with a screwdriver and the grille pops right off.

Next, the driver is removed with a ratchet and a 10mm socket. The connector plug on the speaker comes out *easily* - once you correctly find and depress the latch that holds them together. If you find yourself pulling on the wires or corrector you haven't properly released the latch.

Once I got the driver out of the dash I was surprised by what I found inside. The driver is open backed so sound emanates from both sides of the speaker diaphragm. In a normal home speaker the rear wave gets absorbed by the enclosure never to be heard.

In the case of the RAV setup bad things can happen to the rear wave. The first thing is that there are hard plastics inside the dash that can reflect the rear wave back towards the diaphragm and out into the cabin muddying the sound.

This is bad enough but it gets even better! A good chunk of that hard plastic under the speaker is the conduit for the forward facing front vents. Put your ear next to the vent and tap on the conduit and you can clearly hear it through the vent! :surprise

So now imagine the back wave coupling to the vent pipe and emanating from the vent! You're probably thinking that this can't be good and you're right. It isn't.

So before going any further the reflections and coupling to the air vent need to be corrected. Believe it or not this is surprisingly easy to do. The trick is to find a material that will both absorb the rear wave and prevent it from being transmitted through it to the vent pipe.

I tried several different materials including felt rug pad, ouzite carpet, and CLOSED cell foam like an old yoga mat. The yoga mat seemed to work best. You can always test your material by putting it on top of the speaker in the dash and see how much sound gets absorbed. Do NOT use OPEN cell foam as it will transmit sound right through it!

So step 1 is to find a piece of 1/2" thick sound absorbing material and cut it into a 6" x 8" piece and trim off the corners as shown below. Stuff the material into the dash cutout with the long dimension facing left and right. There are a few ridges that you'll have to work the foam under but in the end it should sit right on top of the vent conduit.

Give this a try and let me know what you think. If it makes a difference but still not enough I have a few more tricks up my sleeve!

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Very interesting Steve and I'm sure it will work on many year RAV4s but if you get the chance to run similar tests on a 4.3 I'd be interested in the results. Reminds me of putting open back speakers in the doors of big old American cars and trucks and letting them boom inside the big door cavity to get more bass.
 

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Is it possible to use the foam baffles that are pre-molded for various speaker sizes to accomplish this? Since they are a molded 'cup' for the speaker to sit in it would seem they would prevent noise being transmitted under the speaker both from the speaker and to the speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very interesting Steve and I'm sure it will work on many year RAV4s but if you get the chance to run similar tests on a 4.3 I'd be interested in the results.
Sorry, I don't have a 4.3 but feel free to post a link to this thread on the 4.3 forum and see if anyone is game to try it. The mod is super easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is it possible to use the foam baffles that are pre-molded for various speaker sizes to accomplish this? Since they are a molded 'cup' for the speaker to sit in it would seem they would prevent noise being transmitted under the speaker both from the speaker and to the speaker.
I am not familiar with these pre-made baffles so don't know how they would work but from what I have seen inside my dash I have my doubts.

1. The cavity is irregular shaped... basically just leftover space around everything else that is under there.

2. There is irregular open space around the driver on all sides in the plane of the speaker mounting flanges. It is not a neat round hole. This will allow sound that is bounced off of the windshield back into the cavity to bounce around some more or couple to the vent conduit.

3. The death knell might just be the depth of the cavity at the mounting flange is only about 2 1/8" - 2 1/4" - not much room to work with. There is about a 1/2" clearance with the OEM driver which is just enough for the sheet of sound deadening material to fit.

Regards,
Steve
 

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I am not familiar with these pre-made baffles so don't know how they would work but from what I have seen inside my dash I have my doubts.

1. The cavity is irregular shaped... basically just leftover space around everything else that is under there.

2. There is irregular open space around the driver on all sides in the plane of the speaker mounting flanges. It is not a neat round hole. This will allow sound that is bounced off of the windshield back into the cavity to bounce around some more or couple to the vent conduit.

3. The death knell might just be the depth of the cavity at the mounting flange is only about 2 1/8" - 2 1/4" - not much room to work with. There is about a 1/2" clearance with the OEM driver which is just enough for the sheet of sound deadening material to fit.

Regards,
Steve
The baffles I am familiar with would be deformable to a certain extent. I was just thinking about these because they can really seal up a speaker from behind and prevent the noise transmission you are talking about plus prevent firewall induced noises (road noise) from coming up from behind to the speaker. Crutchfield isn't the only place to get them, it's just that's where I did a search:

https://www1.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/foam_baffles.html

I'm interested in this too since our 2017 Rav4 xle with the stock system is kind of an acoustic train wreck too. (most stock systems are) A lot of which could be traceable to exactly what you're talking about with the front speakers sending out of phase signals through the ductwork. Be interesting to see how this works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The baffles I am familiar with would be deformable to a certain extent. I was just thinking about these because they can really seal up a speaker from behind and prevent the noise transmission you are talking about plus prevent firewall induced noises (road noise) from coming up from behind to the speaker. Crutchfield isn't the only place to get them, it's just that's where I did a search:

https://www1.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/foam_baffles.html
Some of those foam rings look like open cell which will add some damping to the bass frequencies but let most of the mid-range frequencies through. If you have any of t his material you can try putting it between your ear and the midrange driver in a home speaker and judge the effect.
 

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Some of those foam rings look like open cell which will add some damping to the bass frequencies but let most of the mid-range frequencies through. If you have any of t his material you can try putting it between your ear and the midrange driver in a home speaker and judge the effect.
I agree the multi-part rings look open cell. I was mostly looking at the cup type that are 'faced' so to speak. If I get a chance I'll have to try to get a speaker out and see what we're dealing with. I would like to clean up the sound some without spending a fortune since my trip lengths lately don't warrant it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree the multi-part rings look open cell. I was mostly looking at the cup type that are 'faced' so to speak. If I get a chance I'll have to try to get a speaker out and see what we're dealing with. I would like to clean up the sound some without spending a fortune since my trip lengths lately don't warrant it.
If yours is the non-JBL driver please get a photo of it to post. It will be interesting to compare the different drivers.
 

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If yours is the non-JBL driver please get a photo of it to post. It will be interesting to compare the different drivers.
I'll try to get a picture before too long. I've got several trips to make, not in the RAV, in next week or two. Is there anything special about your dash speaker? Is it a two way with tweeter or anything?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll try to get a picture before too long. I've got several trips to make, not in the RAV, in next week or two. Is there anything special about your dash speaker? Is it a two way with tweeter or anything?
The JBL is a 2-way with a single capacitor crossover.
 

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What if we only replace these dash speakers with better quality speakers? Something like "JL Audio C5-400cm".
Dash speakers are the easiest to replace.
 

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I have tested new speakers in my 2016 Rav4 hybrid. Here is what I replaced the stock JBL's with and the results. (all speakers were impedance matched and installed correctly)

Subwoofer - Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 8-inch. Result = MAYBE 5% bass improvement

Front Doors - Polk Audio DB652. Result = FAR WORSE PERFORMANCE.

Dash Speakers - Kicker 44KSC3504. Result = FAR WORSE PERFORMANCE

I would not recommend replacing just the speakers.

It is becoming apparent that the only real way to fix this is:
1) Upgrade all speakers
2) Correct the Toyota EQ/Crossover settings using a sound processor.
3) Replace the factory amplifier.

I am looking into doing step 2 & 3 and will update everyone on the results as well as the costs associated.

Obviously this is ridiculous considering I have the "upgraded" JBL system. Come on Toyota get it together and fix this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
4NW,

I am not surprised by your results but it does confirm what I have thought all along. The ONLY way to get this fixed is to get Toyota's attention to the problem in sufficient quantity that they fix the software!

TOYOTA DOESN'T READ THIS OR ANY FORUM! I seriously doubt that they even know this issue exists. Unfortunately the dealers often act like a big FILTER between the customer and Toyota USA. Here is what I recommend doing:

1. Take it to your dealer and show them the issue. Next you'll have to convince them to open a TAS case in order for the issue to even get to Toyota to review. Make sure that you get the TAS case number so that you can follow up on it. Getting a TAS number is the only way that Toyota engineering will ever hear about this issue!

2. Write This guy a detailed (paper) letter describing the issue and the effect that it has had on your view of Toyota:

Jim Lentz
CEO, Toyota Motor North America
TMNA Headquarters
6565 Headquarters Drive, Plano, TX

I guarantee that you'll get a response to this. It may take a while but it will filter down but you'll get a response. If enough people follow these steps they will eventually fix this issue.

Please feel free to copy this information and distribute it to other forums.

BTW, I completed step #1 a while ago and never heard anything so I took the TAS number and called Toyota and they couldn't find it. So the TAS was either never filed by the dealer or they gave me the wrong number. So now it is back to the dealer to document it all over again. I am also currently working on step #2 .
 

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I have tested new speakers in my 2016 Rav4 hybrid. Here is what I replaced the stock JBL's with and the results. (all speakers were impedance matched and installed correctly)
...

I would not recommend replacing just the speakers.

It is becoming apparent that the only real way to fix this is:
1) Upgrade all speakers
2) Correct the Toyota EQ/Crossover settings using a sound processor.
3) Replace the factory amplifier.

I am looking into doing step 2 & 3 and will update everyone on the results as well as the costs associated.

Obviously this is ridiculous considering I have the "upgraded" JBL system. Come on Toyota get it together and fix this!
Thanks 4NW,
This means our JBL speakers are fairly good. Perhaps they are good enough for most of us.
Then the solution could be either step 2 or step 3 or both.

Can we just bypass the amp and get the quality of non-jbl system ? maybe problem is only the amp ?
 

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4NW,

I am not surprised by your results but it does confirm what I have thought all along. The ONLY way to get this fixed is to get Toyota's attention to the problem in sufficient quantity that they fix the software!

TOYOTA DOESN'T READ THIS OR ANY FORUM! I seriously doubt that they even know this issue exists. Unfortunately the dealers often act like a big FILTER between the customer and Toyota USA. Here is what I recommend doing:

1. Take it to your dealer and show them the issue. Next you'll have to convince them to open a TAS case in order for the issue to even get to Toyota to review. Make sure that you get the TAS case number so that you can follow up on it. Getting a TAS number is the only way that Toyota engineering will ever hear about this issue!

2. Write This guy a detailed (paper) letter describing the issue and the effect that it has had on your view of Toyota:

Jim Lentz
CEO, Toyota Motor North America
TMNA Headquarters
6565 Headquarters Drive, Plano, TX

I guarantee that you'll get a response to this. It may take a while but it will filter down but you'll get a response. If enough people follow these steps they will eventually fix this issue.

Please feel free to copy this information and distribute it to other forums.

BTW, I completed step #1 a while ago and never heard anything so I took the TAS number and called Toyota and they couldn't find it. So the TAS was either never filed by the dealer or they gave me the wrong number. So now it is back to the dealer to document it all over again. I am also currently working on step #2 .

In 2014 there was an issue about dealers selling extended warranties on line and by phone to out of state customers. Most local dealers complained to Toyota and Toyota Corporate made them stop as the online dealers were selling them for $100 over cost, very competitive pricing. This has nothing to do with the topic about JBL but there is another way to contact Jim Lentz. In 2014 his email was [email protected]. I sent him an email and within two days heard back from Toyota corporate but not Jim Lentz. The person I heard back from was in the corporate office and they stated that they (Toyota) would respond one of two ways, either call you or mail their response. You had a choice to provide either your phone # or an address. I provided my address (wanted it in writing) and did receive a written response. The response was typical corporate bs and nothing changed.
I'm only suggesting that if enough people write to Lentz via email there is a good chance he may see these before a written letter. Who knows how much these top executives see but this is just another option. I'm guessing this is still the email for Lentz but not 100% certain.
 

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Thanks 4NW,
This means our JBL speakers are fairly good. Perhaps they are good enough for most of us.
Then the solution could be either step 2 or step 3 or both.

Can we just bypass the amp and get the quality of non-jbl system ? maybe problem is only the amp ?
I hope to test 2) & 3) without upgrading the speakers. (I only kept the subwoofer replacement speaker). I only plan on updating the speakers if 2) & 3) alone do not sound good.
 

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In my experience, companies large and small take a written or typed snail-mail letters FAR more seriously than any emails, tweets, Facebook postings or even voice calls. The snail-mail letter is the one that will get passed around and read by more people in different departments, and hopefully by the person who can actually make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
In my experience, companies large and small take a written or typed snail-mail letters FAR more seriously than any emails, tweets, Facebook postings or even voice calls. The snail-mail letter is the one that will get passed around and read by more people in different departments, and hopefully by the person who can actually make a difference.
Jackpot! Snail-mail is more important but you can also do tweets and email or other social media. The main object is to have as much of the same message coming from as many directions as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks 4NW,
This means our JBL speakers are fairly good. Perhaps they are good enough for most of us.
Then the solution could be either step 2 or step 3 or both.

Can we just bypass the amp and get the quality of non-jbl system ? maybe problem is only the amp ?
Step 2 with a parametric equalizer would work to fix what is coming out of the head unit. I highly doubt that any of the equalization is done in the factory amp. However, without having the wiring diagrams of the complete system the interface between the amp and head unit may not be analog but digital which would be a whole 'nother can of worms. Think of the cost (and weight) savings of a single digital wire vs. at least 5 shielded coax pairs.
 
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