Bad sound quality (JBL)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by WxW, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    I was able to get a decent deal on a 2004 Prius II this week, so I went ahead and bought it. Unfortunately I didn't really have a good way to check the sound quality during my test drive (seeing as it doesn't have an aux input and I didn't bring any CD's). But it had JBL so I thought it couldn't be that bad.

    Well, it is. It's actually quite awful. And though I have no direct reference (another Prius II with JBL system would come in handy), I'm 99% sure this is not how it is supposed to sound.

    I drove a non JBL Prius III before (tough economical times, what can I say) and it had much, much better sound. This is by far the worst sound system I've had in a car, and I've owned much shittier cars than this.

    It just sounds very very weak. Like there's no power to the sound at all. It sounds very muffled as well. No clarity whatsoever. When I turn up the volume there's very noticeable distortion very early on.

    I've isolated every individual speaker using the audio controls and it's the same shitty sound for every speaker. Then I opened up the front left door, to see if the speaker has any visible damage. It looks pretty perfect to me. So I don't think it's a case of blown speakers? Attached a picture of the speaker for reference. Is that even an original JBL? Perhaps the previous owner put something in that this amp can't power properly? I'm just making wild guesses here.

    So what can this be? Can it be the amp? The headunit? So far I've only been able to find websites that tell me if the amp is blown you don't have any sound at all.

    The guy who sold me this car has a wrecked Prius II with JBL on his lot. So if I can be reasonably certain it's the amp, I could ask him to swap them.

    Any help would be much appreciated!
     

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  2. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    Right, so I took it out. It's a JBL GX602 from 2014. These things get pretty great reviews online.

    I hooked it up to a hi-fi amp. Not a lot of bass, but definitely sounds a whole lot clearer and less distorted than in the Prius. It's almost as if the amp in the prius completely filters the highs going to the main speakers. Perhaps cause of the tweeters?

    Don't quite know what to make of this.
     
    #2 WxW, Jan 6, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  3. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    They're 2.3 ohms so the stock JBL amp in the Prius should get a decent sound out of them, right?
     
  4. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I’m not sure but I do recall when we had the Gen 2, that the JBL audio system was the worst of all Toyotas at that time (note JBL audio wasn’t available on the Corolla in Canada so the Prius was the cheapest car to have JBL).

    The cheap solution was to unplug the centre mono speaker and run it as an 8-speaker system.
     
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  5. alftoy

    alftoy Member

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    Toyota has an ASL sound compensation, very poor implementation, did you adjust or turn off ASL?

    ASL Sound.JPG
     
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  6. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    Centre speaker was already uplugged when I bought it, but the individual speakers just sound massively underpowered and distorted.

    I'm beginning to think maybe the previous owner had an extra amp for these speakers that he took out before he sold it on. That would explain a thing or two. I mean, the speakers are upgraded to pretty decent ones. I can't see how anyone would settle for this sound quality after an upgrade. I have a portable JBL speaker that sounds better.

    The 2004 doesn't seem to have this option. No aux.
     
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  7. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    that speaker you posted wasn't correct because it looks like its got a tweeter in it and the prius tweeter is in the triangle. did you look for any markings on it? if it 8 ohm no way is it gonna sound right. the jbl system isn't good especially if you like it loud, but it is adequate at normal volumes. the system i put in my 2004 sounded way better than the jbl in either of my other cars.
     
  8. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    Yeah I figured that out; it's a 2.3 ohm JBL from 2014. Doesn't fully explain why it sounds so terrible in the Prius.
     
  9. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    So... I went back to the guy I bought it from. He had another 2004 Prius with JBL there so I asked if I could have a listen.
    Sounded 10 times better. Stock JBL system. Not fantastic, but indeed pretty adequate.

    He offered to switch the amps. Now here's the weird part; sound quality in my car definitely improved after switching the amp. I mean; I wasn't able to listen to music at all without wanting to stab myself in the ears. Now I can listen to it at moderate volume and even find some sort of enjoyment. The other car however still sounds fine. Actually still better than mine. Really odd if you ask me.

    So I guess the previous owner messed up replacing the front woofers with 2-way systems that just sound crap in this car. I'm going to try and see what's in the back doors now... maybe swap some things around, see how it sounds.

    On a completely unrelated note, the other car's steering was so much lighter than mine, it now has me worried that my power steering is messed. I mean I get some power steering but clearly not all of it. Sh*t.
     
    #9 WxW, Jan 7, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2021
  10. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Possibly needs the steering recall done. My steering was much tighter to the point it was too tight (IMHO) after the steering recall was completed.
     
  11. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    My gen2 JBL sounded very good. The system has specific audio crossovers with significant bass directed to your disconnected speaker. Add impedance and phasing mismatches and you are hosed.
     
  12. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    Does anyone know if the front and back speakers are the same for JBL? The back speakers are 20 watt 2.6 ohm.

    Hmmm. Ok. Let's hope the other car is the odd one then. I'm not nearly as content as I was when I bought it. There's quite a few hidden defects. Ah well. Cheap is expensive, huh.
     
  13. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I found some info on the forum suggesting the head unit is fixed output to the amp which has the variable output. The amp is rated at four channels of 45 watts although many believe that is peak impulse power, not continuous. Tweeters and the center channel are fed through crossovers and summing circuits. JBL ratings changed over the years. This was a tuned system so replacement speakers have to be reasonably compatible. Of course European versions could be different.

    The factory front and back woofers are not the same. Per the reference:

    1. Front driver's tweeter (top front corner of front door) - 2.0 cm (0.8") 6ohm
    2. Front driver's woofer (bottom front corner of front door) - 16 cm (6.3") 2ohm
    3. Front passenger tweeter (top front corner of front door) - 2.0 cm (0.8") 6ohm
    4. Front passenger woofer (bottom front corner of front door) - 16 cm (6.3") 2ohm
    5. Rear driver's tweeter (top front corner of rear door) - 2.0 cm (0.8") 6ohm
    6. Rear driver's woofer (bottom front corner of rear door) - 16 cm (6.3") 3ohm
    7. Rear passenger tweeter (bottom front corner of rear door) - 2.0 cm (0.8") 6ohm
    8. Rear passenger woofer (bottom front corner of rear door) - 16 cm (6.3") 3ohm
    9. Center dash (above screen) midrange (center channel) - 6.5 cm (2.6") 2ohm
     
  14. WxW

    WxW New Member

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    Thanks for the info. So I guess that means I won't be swapping the back woofers to the front.
     
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