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Upgrading JBL questions: front speakers + sub

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Audio and Electronics' started by neilw, Apr 28, 2011.

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  1. neilw

    neilw New Member

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    Upgrading the stereo on my soon-to-be-purchased Prius will be one of the first things I do. I'll probably be getting JBL + Nav. I've been reading through about a zillion threads in this forum and I'm still not clear on a few issues.

    I will definitely be putting in a subwoofer (with amp), probably upgrading the front speakers, and maybe installing a new amp for the fronts only (normally I get a 4-channel and use two channels for the sub, two for the fronts, and leave the rears as-is).

    Best-case scenario would seem to be to connect something like a CleanSweep SSI to the front channels, to create relatively flat front L and R channels, then feed those to a 4-channel amp with built-in crossover. Feed the high-pass (or all-pass) to the fronts, and replace the fronts with standard component separates. Feed the low-pass to a sub. Is this a reasonable approach? Will the summing the front low and mid/hi channels from the JBL amp yield L/R channels that are anywhere near flat, or do I really need to feed it through a DSP? I'm trying to keep it simple; the summer seems unavoidable but I don't particularaly want to go the DSP route unless it's really necessary.

    Have I overlooked anything?

    Failing the above scenario, I wouldn't even know how to upgrade the front speakers, given the existing bi-amped design for the front which is (I presume) crossed over too low for standard 2-way separates.

    If I went the sub-only route, could I just tap the sub off the front woofer channels? I prefer to use the front channels for my subs because it works much better when trying to manage the front/rear fade.

    As always, these factory systems make this more complicated than it needs to be. Oh well!
  2. Thai

    Thai Prius Neophyte

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    Maybe you should take a good listen to it FIRST before jumping in! Get a good CD or a good recorded song on Ipod...put CD in or connect Ipod via USB...set the Treble, Mid, Bass to zero (middle) with ASL ON. Listen while parked and while driving.

    If you don't like it, then go ahead with your plan. Personally, i would not do anything without some sort of time-delay/phase correcting processor (JBL MS8 is an example). I don't think that Cleansweep will do much.
  3. neilw

    neilw New Member

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    I do plan to listen, but need to do my research while waiting for that opportunity. After my experience with the utterly sucktastic (and very hard to upgrade) JBL system in my '06; I want to understand what I'm in for if/when I go to upgrade the new one.

    I have never heard a car audio system without a dedicated sub that was really satisfying to me, and am pretty skeptical of the whole squawker/6x9 system they put in there.

    But I will give it a listen.

    BTW, all that particular CleanSweep would even be trying to do is sum the front hi/low channels into a single channel I can feed into an amp. That only makes sense if the sum of the hi/low channels is anywhere near flat. You never know.
  4. Thai

    Thai Prius Neophyte

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    6x9s in the front doors and 6.5" in the rear doors are purely subs. The dash and upper rear door squawkers are for mids and highs. This JBL system in G3 is much much better than the G2 version. If you can't find a Prius to test, then just check out the Camry's JBL system...it is very close to the Prius in both sound and design.

    The JBL amp does DSP. Due to the extreme locations of the speakers in the front, anything that deviates from the OEM speaker designs need major DSP work IMO.

    Good luck in your aftermarket venture...remember, it is very hard to make a good good good system in a Prius, where the environment is not as quiet as a Lexus LS.
  5. neilw

    neilw New Member

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    I'm not really shooting for "good good good"; I know what a really good system is like and I'm not willing to make the sacrifices for it. My past experience suggests that the upgrades I'm proposing can make the system much better, to a level that is... well, as "better" as I'm willing to push it. If that makes any sense.
  6. Thai

    Thai Prius Neophyte

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    I understand. But, what you proposed would work great on a traditional system with a traditional tweeter mount in the A-pillar and a woofer down low...but, i don't think that it would work well in the G3 Prius, where there isn't a traditional tweeter mount and the door woofer is not a midrange, but a subwoofer.

    As a few have found out, to improve on the JBL and do it right, you gotta open up your wallet a little bit more.... :eek:
  7. frodoz737

    frodoz737 The Mechanic

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    "Upgrading the stereo on my soon-to-be-purchased Prius will be one of the first things I do. I'll probably be getting JBL + Nav."

    If you do not like the factory JBL+Nav system "as is", do not buy that option. You will spend more money trying to work around it than doing a complete clean aftermarket install on a Prius II, and it will sound better.

    Do the math. $3030 for JBL/Nav "plus" additional amps, speakers/sub, cleansweeep, wiring, labor, ect...

    My system cost $4700 "installed and tuned" thereby only costing me $1670 over factory upgrade. It completely outclasses the JBL in every way, and for the price difference of what a good head Unit would cost alone.
  8. neilw

    neilw New Member

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    I understand this viewpoint. However, to avoid the JBL I must go for a II. There are other features of the III or IV (haven't decided yet) that I would like to get. If I want the sunroof package, then I am "stuck" with the JBL+NAV, like it or not.

    Also, I generally prefer (rightly or wrongly) to stay with the factory head unit, despite its inferiority to aftermarket models. I have never had a problem getting decent sound out of a stock head with aftermarket amp and speakers.

    It is frustrating to be held hostage by the factory sound system options. It's my least favorite part of my current Prius, and one of the reasons I've gotten the itch to upgrade now rather than hold onto it for another year or two.

    But hey, if the answer is that it's not worth it trying to upgrade the JBL system, then that's useful to know, even if not the answer I was hoping for.
  9. frodoz737

    frodoz737 The Mechanic

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you want and anything can be done for a price. I meant in no way to tell you what to do or what is best for you. Just sharing my perspective and choice. I wish you the best with buying and personalizing "your" Prius.
  10. neilw

    neilw New Member

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    No worries, I'm annoyed at Toyota, not you. :)
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