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Prius speaker upgraded, sound quality still awful!! :(

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Audio and Electronics' started by harkirat, May 20, 2011.

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  1. harkirat

    harkirat New Member

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    I have a Prius II and hated the sound quality so i started with upgrading my front speakers to the Focal polyglass 165 VR component speakers (+ 2 ch Audison amp to drive them) which I read are great speakers. I expected a real improvement in sound quality but I could barely hear the difference. The sound is still awful and mids are really distorted and the bass is pretty non-existent. Now I am left wondering if it is the head unit that is terrible or if the acoustics in the car itself are really bad. I am now thinking of replacing the head unit and/or add dynamat to the speakers to reduce distortion.

    I just want good sound in my car !! :(

    Any advise on how to improve the sound quality would be greatly appreciated !
  2. frodoz737

    frodoz737 The Mechanic

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    The Prius II Base Head Unit is junk. In fact, all 3 offered on the Prius are junk in my opinion. Replace it, them match your amp and speakers to the new unit.
  3. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Always start with the head unit IMO. It's the source after all. :)
  4. rrolff

    rrolff Prius Surgeon

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    I'd start by reading these forums.........

    I've been through 3 HUs 2 different front component speakers - i'd say off hand, the best bang for your buck is *adding* 3,5" new squakers (read the posts).
  5. Thai

    Thai Prius Neophyte

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    The problem is that your Focal woofer is not made to make bass...they are not full range. So, this is why your bass sucks. You need to add a dedicated subwoofer. You need to cross over your Focal woofer so that it does not play too deep bass.

    Like above, i would replace the headunit...and maybe add JBL MS8 unit to equalize your car. With MS8, i am not sure if you need to replace the headunit...but, i am not clear on MS8.

    Here is more info: http://ms8.jbl.com/index.html#/ms-8-intro
  6. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    I second that. OEM speakers tend to be very high efficiency and often produce more mid-bass than high quality aftermarket speakers. It is likely that you could lose not only overall volume, giving the impression of worse sound, but also less low frequency bass output, too.

    Keep in mind that some high quality aftermarket speakers are quite inefficient. It could easily be the same difference made by a factor of 10 in amplifier power, though usually less for more mainstream brands intended to be OEM replacements.
  7. frodoz737

    frodoz737 The Mechanic

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    The 2010-2011 Prius Base radio can not be fixed...period. You can throw HDs, RAM and cards at a P2 based computer and it will not make it an i7. Replace it with a quality unit that has the feature set you like. They can have 13-Band EQs, Digital Time Alignment and so much more. Use a quality Digital 5 channel amp, component speakers with active cross-overs in front (I went 3-way) and coaxial in the rear. A good 10" Sub is the most this car will ever need, but that depends on the quality, box, placement and "your" lifestyle. Everything must match electrically, volts, ohms, amps, watts, impedance - everything. Remember this is a system, not just a bunch of parts. Set your cross-overs, time delays and EQ to the vehicle and your taste. The MS-8 is a fine product for tuning beyond what some say a person is capable, it however does not replace quality. It can easily be installed later if you need "Perfect".

    There are many opinions and solutions to field on this site, this is just what I did. Do what works for you and good luck. ;)
  8. GeoGeek

    GeoGeek Member

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    To test and see if it is indeed the factory head unit, you can bypass the factory head unit and use an iPod or other portable player to feed clean signal straight into your Audison Amp. You'll need a cable that goes from 3.5mm headphone jack to RCA jacks; you then feed signal direct from your iPod to the amp. You should notice a big difference...then you'll know what kind of difference you can expect from a good aftermarket head unit. I agree on the subwoofer though.....definately need something to pick up the 80Hz & down duties. BTW, I own a set of the 165VR's (in my non-Prius vehicle) and they blow away the Prius factory speakers (even the JBLs) by a country mile.
  9. harkirat

    harkirat New Member

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    Hi All!
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies !

    Geogeek I thought about feeding signal directly into my amp but apparently I need a pre amp module to do that with my amp...at least thats what the guy who did the install said.

    Thai thanks for the subwoofer and MS8 advice. Will definitely check out the MS8 option. Sounds pretty promising !

    Based on your advice I am definitely going to start by replacing the head unit most likely with a Rosen nav system.

    Thanks again for all your help ! You guys are great !
  10. DaveLadely

    DaveLadely Junior Member

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    I'm no fan of the head unit, the JBL "better" unit, but I chose the Polk 6 1/2" component and the difference was night and day. My woman was surprised at the difference. The JBL tweeters really sucked, very very poor tweeters. I also added a fair amount of fiberglass, as home speakers have. I also used a 3 1/2" Polk 2 way for the center channel, but I added a 25 watt 0-100 ohm potentiometer in series to tone it down as it was too loud.
    I am loathe to remove the head unit as I would rather not lose the gas mileage graphs. Also I have a Sirius/XM integrated with it.
    I have been thinking about replacing the factory amp that is separate, under the seat. So, it has low level inputs, from the head unit "preamp" but without the RCA male plugs. Have to figure out what is what on those "preamp" outputs, as they are not labeled, then use a good separate amp. The JBL head unit "preamp" outputs are not flat; they are contoured with an upper bass enhancement at the expense of low bass. So "preamp" outputs from the head unit could an Audio Control parametric type equalizer to contour the sound to a better sounding bass, should be fine then. By the way, Bose preamp sections are not flat, either. They tend to add some contouring on lower bass and upper treble.
  11. 102mm

    102mm Junior Member

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    I got the JBL system and I hated the highs. Today just for the hell of it I took the capacitors off the tweeters. To me just that made a big difference and didn't cost me anything. = winning!!

    I will most likely still throw a shallow JL Audio 12" in the spare tire well as soon as I get my money right..
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