most efficient audio upgrades? (2010 II, non jbl)

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by feet, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. feet

    feet Junior Member

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    so i just got my prius and i'm generally pleased, but the sound and functionality is pretty mediocre. i don't need volume or bass, just decent quality. can't afford to throw too much money at it so i figured i would ask: what's are the biggest bang for the buck upgrades, or what is the order that people generally follow with these? amp>speakers>head unit (or vice versa)? once i nail down what's most important (or what the weak links are), i can figure out brands and models and such, or what's the easiest/cleverest way to go about it.

    my concerns are decent price and quality without taxing the electrical system or having to mod or gut the car, if possible. i can live with the head unit for now but if it has to go i'll be ok with that.

    my particular car has bluetooth and a separate mic, but no usb connections (just aux), which is problematic for me. no charging and no control of any kind from the head unit or steering wheel won't do.

    ideas and experiences appreciated. thanks in advance :)
     
  2. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    I've put an aftermarket head unit in almost every car I've owned and it made a huge difference in all of them. None of the head units were super expensive, they were all $100-250 (Pioneer is my favorite). In my opinion, a head unit unlocks the potential in the stock speakers and lets you get the most out of any further upgrades.
     
  3. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    For the Prius...HU first, hands down.
     
  4. feet

    feet Junior Member

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    that was my first suspicion/fear. i was hoping to scrape by for now just adding the factory usb connection and maybe an amp.

    that's been my habit all my driving life, too. just wanted to be a little smarter about it this time.

    now that we've settled that, i suppose my next question is: what is worth keeping? does it all need to be replaced (eventually) or will a decent head unit be "enough"? i was looking at the alpines myself, but i like the idea of that fancy chinese one everyone's after, if only to properly fill the void- not a fan of the negative space and bracket look.
     
  5. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    #5 frodoz737, Oct 26, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  6. feet

    feet Junior Member

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    your photos are both heartening and disheartening at the same time. at least it gives me an idea of what is possible, not that i could pull that off on my own. lot of ideas, though, so thanks for that.

    a couple questions: what did you use for sound dampening? and why didn't you just replace the squawkers in the dash? doesn't someone make something that fits?
     
  7. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    As far as just replacing the squawkers...I wanted real three ways with active cross-overs. The set-up used stock from Toyota is a crappy base blocker, popular only to save cost. If you take a look at your speakers you will also see they are crappy paper units. The choice one makes is personal. What's right for one is not necessarily right for another.
     
  8. feet

    feet Junior Member

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    as i'm researching further, it seems that i should focus on the head unit and squawkers for maximum benefit. and possibly an amp to high pass the squawkers and/or low pass the front door speakers. i like the idea of two ways in the dash, but would probably stay passive for ease. doesn't look like they make in drop in replacements, but some gentle carving seems simple enough to make everything fit as stock would.

    a four channel amp would handle the dash and door speakers, but would a head unit still drive the two rear speakers acceptably? or could i expect a decent head unit to properly drive all six speakers while sending the right frequencies to each?

    so many questions, so much to sift through...
     
  9. DFW

    DFW Junior Member

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    If you don't want to do everything at once, usually you start off with a new headunit (if you are considering an amp, I'd go ahead and run the needed speaker wire), followed by speakers, followed by sub/amp (sound deadening always helps).

    Considering the way the front speakers are run, I'm just replacing headunit and all door speakers.

    I don't consider the sound on my 3 navigation, non-JBL model to be terrible, so I'm sure headunit/door speakers (being run off headunit internal amp) should satisfy me.
     
  10. rogan

    rogan Junior Member

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    a late post but I'm going against the grain here. 1st thing should be a sub and amp. Even if you're not a basshead. Your front speakers will be lucky to play anything below say 80hz with any kind of authority so adding a sub fills in the missing bottom end. 2nd should be front speakers with emphasis on 'enclosing' the midbass drivers (sound deadening the doors and sealing them). The h/u and finally front speaker amp. That would be my order.

    And never replace or amp the rear speakers unless a) you're rich or b)you have spare amplifier channels. Before my kids were born I was planning a pretty decent Alpine F1 install with factory rear speakers. Simply put, rear speaker are for ambience only.
     
  11. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    To each their own, but garbage in...garbage out. The factory 2010 Prius II HU is one of the worst I've seen installed in a car in many years. Better speakers and an amp only make the noise louder.
     
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