JBL worth it? (vs Prius stock, pre-04 Toyota JBL...)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by chrono807, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. chrono807

    chrono807 New Member

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    I have a deposit on an '09 Spectra Blue Package 2... right now I have a 2003 Solara with the factory JBL stereo and I LOVE IT! If the factory CD player had ever died I would literally have gone to the trouble of finding another factory deck just because I wouldn't want to risk my factory stereo's sound quality on an aftermarket deck (and just so everyone knows my history, every car I previously owned, I immediately tore out the factory stereo and slapped in an Eclipse deck with Infinity speakers).

    My question is, I know in 2004 Toyota's JBL systems switched from analog to digital, with mixed reviews - some people love the new sound, others hate it. Could someone comment on the sound compared to the Pre-04 JBL stereos? How does the Prius's JBL compare?

    My salesman at the dealer (and a fellow Solara owner) went so far as to tell me that the Package 2 audio system will sound more like my Solara's than the new JBL does. True? False?

    I've looked through the forums for upgrades to both and it looks like to do ANYTHING with the non-JBL I'd have to at the very least add the Kenwood KSC-SW1 to get the kind of bass kick I'm used to. And it also sounds like a speaker upgrade would be next to impossible without also adding an amp. Best (I mean worst) of all, all of the connections for the non-JBL are in the dash, aren't they? Making even a simple subwoofer install a PITA.

    The JBL on the other hand has the amp mounted under the seat, making upgrades relatively easy, but the Package 3 is an extra $1500, which would mean upgrading wouldn't exactly be affordable.
     
  2. redhandeddenial

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    i really dig my jbl system. like you in all other cars i have taken the factor junk out and out better stuff in. other than one day of temporary grief i would venture to say i am 100% satisfied with it.

    just my $0.02
     
  3. Presto

    Presto Has his homepage set to PC

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    The JBL is decent for a stock system. If you're use to the JBL in your last car, you probably won't be as happy with the base stereo, but that can be upgraded for less than going to package 3. It may be worth going to package 3, if you consider the other features it has, like bluetooth and homelink.
     
  4. chrono807

    chrono807 New Member

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    I'm a little bit concerned about the effect that adding an amp would have on my amp... is it pretty much a requirement though if you upgrade the stock speakers? Or would something like Pioneers sound fine? For that matter, what speakers offer the best full-range frequency response without needing a sub - someone once told me Pioneers but I found that interesting since the big names in car audio seem to be Alpine, Infinity, etc. Although the people buying the top of the line would tend to have subs too.

    I want to modify as little as possible basically, so I'm open to just slapping in one of those Kenwood subs. Coming from an '03 analog JBL, would I be happy with the factory deck and the Kenwood sub that goes under the seat? I'd obviously be able to turn down the bass on the deck so that the factory speakers have more usable power for the highs.

    Or would I be better off gutting all 6 factory speakers and replacing them with something like a Pioneer component set in the front and Pioneer 2-ways in the back, plus a good amp?

    I don't want to spend a lot of money, I just want to get the same sound my JBL has right now. I figure that since the Solara doesn't have a sub, I shouldn't need one, but if there's one thing I've found, it's that the car audio companies REALLY want you to add a sub if you want any bass.
     
  5. Presto

    Presto Has his homepage set to PC

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    How far you want to go is up to you. For the base model, replacing the speakers with some half-decent, aftermarket speakers should yield a significant improvement in sound quality, but really, you won't be taking full advantage of the speakers until you amp them. Again, it depends on how far you want to go. Some people are elated with just a speaker upgrade. I went for the full meal deal because of my ravenous hunger for good sound :)
     
  6. chrono807

    chrono807 New Member

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    I think I need to avoid adding more than one amp... don't want to strain the electrical system or hurt MPG. So I guess it's either replace the speakers and add an amp, or add the Kenwood sub - will aftermarket speakers ever give me the bass response that the Solara's JBL has?

    ** EDIT ** Wanted to clarify - will aftermarket speakers WITHOUT A SUB give me the bass response the Solara has? Most of what I've owned in the past has been Infinity, and maybe they lack bass response, but it left me with the impression that aftermarket speakers are pretty much meant to work with a sub.
     
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