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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Issues with 2014-2017 RAV4’s with Premium JBL Audio System – If you are disappointed with your JBL/Greenedge Audio, YOU ARE NOT ALONE – READ ON PLEASE: I am proceeding with Arbitration, and have a Toyota Case Number under which I am doing so. There are 2 major defects as follows: First - Audio with speakers set to rear of cabin is about 70% lower than when set to front of cabin, and is totally lacking in bass, mids and highs – puny and weak in the rear is a good description. Second – Subwoofer functionality is virtually absent in the passenger cabin, with only slight output regardless of whether in front, rear, or any speaker setting mode.
I have been an audiophile for decades, and purchased my 2016 RAV4 Hybrid Limited with the Premium JBL/Greenedge system because I wanted hi grade audio. I drove the vehicle for weeks before using the audio system because I use earphones. When I began to use the system I noticed the 2 issues that are outlined above. I ran tests utilizing .mp3 file sine wave frequencies from 30Hz – 2500Hz set at a reference level, and made tests. Sure enough, the audio delivered in the rear is truly weak and puny, and the subwoofer is virtually useless. There are clearly issues since the rear door speakers are 170mm coaxials, capable of full frequency response, and the subwoofer, were it functional, would augment the rear cabin audio performance. The system is sadly lacking.
Toyota, at the dealership level is trying to help me but Toyota at regional and national levels simply comes back with “The audio system is working normally.” The truth is that Toyota simply compared my vehicle with several others and came up with the catchy sentence about “working normally.”
Apparently Toyota refuses to admit that the integrated premium package consisting of Fujitsu-Ten head unit, JBL Greenedge speakers, and JBL amplifier is suffering from technical defects, and all vehicles with this Premium system are affected.
True, most owners probably do not recognize the defects – But many of us who expect a premium performance system, and paid for it, are quite unhappy. The JBL Premium Audio System is neither performing “normally” nor as touted in marketing literature, and we owners should band together.
Owners, do not throw money away by purchasing different speakers, head units or anything, as the integrated system, as purchased with your RAV4 is suffering from technical glitches. I feel that firmware or software revisions may be the cure, but Toyota does not care to expose this issue, so that is why I am going to Arbitration.
Owners – Please respond if you are having these issues so that I can reinforce this case and take with me to Arbitration – Respond to this post, and be in touch with me if you care to.
Many Thanks, Steve B.
 

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Whine all you like - it is what it is. OEM audio systems ALL suck, its just a matter of degrees. You'll accomplish nothing but to waste your energy and time. If its really a big deal then go buy an aftermarket system and get on with your life.

What you're doing here is frankly kind of pathetic. All of the system's shortcomings were readily demonstrable before you bought a car. Admit you failed to check it out adequately.
 

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You're not the first to rant on this, or even to threaten legal action. However, you don't have a leg to stand on here. You bought a product. Your product works the same as every other of the same product, new on the lot and on the streets, and according to Toyota is "normal operation". Unlike 90% of other "products" sold in the world you can actually try this one before you buy it. It hasn't "failed", nor is it any worse than when you tested it and purchased it brand new. No doubt the jbl system sucks. But you can't take legal action because you don't find the sound system performs as well as you'd like. You simply don't buy it. I specifically didn't get the tech package because the non jbl limited trim system doesn't have those issues.
I get your frustration, but you won't get anywhere with this.
 

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For one, I am with the OP.
Granted he could have tested all this before he bought but there is only so much you can test.
From having been on the forum for years, I know that JBL implementation was crap even in the 4.3 RAV4. Same thing goes for Navigation.

That being said, I believe that those people paying extra for a premium sound system, deserve a premium sound system. However, I do not know what the minimum requirements of a premium sound system should be.

FYI, I have a 2015 Acura TLX with premimum ELS sound system. Some critics says that the ELS system is a good one. https://www.edmunds.com/acura/tlx/2015/long-term-road-test/2015-acura-tlx-critics-agree-els-audio-is-pretty-darn-good.html . I can say that it is better than my Base 2008 RAV4. For one it has more speakers but I am not terribly impressed by it. I listen to Rock and Metal.
 

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That being said, I believe that those people paying extra for a premium sound system, deserve a premium sound system.
Compared to the standard system, that's exactly what it is. So this argument holds no water. Failing to adequately investigate the system before buying is no excuse for whining.
 

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For one, I am with the OP.
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I am too. I totally agree with him. But, he won't get anywhere and I don't see the point in going on this crusade because of the reasons listed in my earlier post. I am a bit of an audiophile myself and once I heard and played around with the jbl system(which is the main reason I would have gotten the tech package) I'd decided that the base limited without jbl sounded better. Both are far from what would even approach being called a premium system. But at 42 with a newborn, no upgrades are happening to my system. lol
 

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How much R&D went into this system? They basically threw a bunch of speakers in a car, paired them with a crappy amp and called it a day. The base system in our BMW X3 craps all over JBL's Greenmehhdge.
 

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I have it in my limited and it sucks. Standard radio in my 2012 Camry SE sounds better. I am with anyone that might get us a better sound. Front to back speaker is horrible
 

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I have to agree with the OP that the ‘premium’ audio system is weak. Better than the base system, yes.

For reference I have a Bang & Olufsen system in my Audi that is very good.
 

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I have a 2103 with the Green Edge system and I find it not too bad.

I have worked as an audio engineer for over 16 years. I have pretty good ears, and I trust them. I run my system flat except for sometimes giving a slight dip in the mid band. I listen to lots of different styles of music and find the overall balance of frequency to be just fine. And that includes the sub.

I think it's important to remember that it is a car, not an ideal listening environment. I accept it for what it is. It had lots of background noise. It has multiple speakers in multiple locations which creates phase issues and comb filtering that will emphasize some frequencies and attenuate others. Those will get emphasized when you turn up the volume. Siting closer to the sub will produce less bass depending on the frequency because you aren't hearing the full cycle of the wave (but you hear it outside the car).

If you really want to evaluate your interior for the audio response, forget random frequencies. Run some pink noise and use a measurement mic.
 

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The issue I have with mine is that the sound quality is different between different input sources. From what I have read on this forum, this seems to be an across the board issue. AM and FM stations are absolutely horrid to the point I don't even bother with them. However, there is a somewhat decent sound from the CD and USB input/MP3. Where the original poster may be onto something is in this difference, not the overall poor performance. You have the same unit/speaker setup giving off different results depending on the source. THAT is what should be focused on in my opinion. You don't have to be a sound engineer to actually hear the difference when you change nothing but the source, no matter how you have everything else setup.

Personally, if Toyota would fix just the AM/FM issue to where it sounds the same as CD/MP3, I could live with that. However, if you get them to admit just that much in either an arbitration case or a court case, then it shouldn't be too much of an issue to convince them to address the bigger issue of overall poor performance for something a premium price was attached to.
 

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Well, maybe you do need to be a sound engineer.

What type of radio broadcast are you talking about? HD or standard? I don't listen to music on the radio really, but I think the HD sounds decent enough.

What is the standard definition of HD radio? What is the frequency response?

Satellite radio has crappy fidelity. Are the songs you're playing off your phone MP3 or lossless compressed files?

MP3 is compressed data (a little off the top and bottom) and will always sound inferior to a CD, which is based on the theoretical limits of human hearing (Nyquist theory).

Do you have additional EQ settings active on your phone/playback device? That will affect your sound as well.

Radio broadcast as well ads further process to the source signal. Modern music already has the life squeezed out of it through the use of compression. Radio broadcast puts it through another limiter stage still. This over-compression will indeed makes the same song sound different on a radio or a CD. Make that CD a ****ty MP3 and it'll sound different still.

The OP was definitely unsatisfied with the quality of sound from the system overall, not tonal or volume discrepancies based on source. Different sources will indeed sound different, even if you are comparing by playing the same song. I would argue, that if people are able to notice these differences, the system is actually working just fine.

If there were a technical defect, like the sub channels being wired out of phase, you might have grounds for a class action suit. But, if you simply find the system fidelity not to your liking (which can be subjective), or don't like that a CD, MP3, and the radio all sound different (which is actually normal), then all you're really doing is having Toyota pay their lawyers to do a bunch of busy work, which will only make your next Rav4 even more expensive.

Karl
 

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About 4K. I had traded in a Camry on the Rav so I had a lot of equity in the Rav. Well worth it IMO. I think the NX looks more like a guy car. Love the seats and look of the NX.
 
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